Perspectives on Educational Management Organizations


Handbook of Research on School Choice

Print publication date:  April  2009
Online publication date:  May  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805862232
eBook ISBN: 9780203881781
Adobe ISBN:


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One of the reforms characterizing public education in the United States over the past two decades has been the creation and growth of for-profit and nonprofit Education Management Organizations (EMOs) that operate schools under contract. This chapter examines the history and role of EMOs in the United States, focusing on two prominent cases: Edison Schools, the largest EMO the country has seen; and Philadelphia, which became the site of the nation’s largest experiment in private management of public schools in the wake of a state takeover of the district in 2002. The chapter presents summaries of research on student achievement in Philadelphia’s EMO schools and in Edison’s schools, and discusses key findings on the operational characteristics of Edison schools. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of the research and of the need for new research to address gaps in what is known about the operations and effectiveness of EMOs.

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