Janet R. Beales directs research and communications projects for Kids 1, Inc., is an adjunct scholar for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and formerly directed the Education Studies Program for the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based economic policy institute. Before earning her MBA at the University of Washington, Beales was assistant editor for the Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics and a project manager for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

By Janet R. Beales

Do Private Schools Serve Difficult-to-Educate Students?

Private K-12 schools are sometimes criticized for accepting only those students most likely to succeed academically, and for leaving the most difficult-to-educate children to the public school system. Is this true? The diversity of private schools includes those that serve exclusively at-risk, incarcerated, or disabled children. The report describes private schools that educate each of these populations, reviews how public schools are contracting with private schools to serve difficult-to-educate students, examines policy implications including cost and school choice, and presents six case studies of Michigan private schools that serve exclusively students with special needs. 71 page … more

Teacher, Inc.: A Private Option for Educators

This study profiles the experiences of a number of educators in private practice, and discusses the benefits that teachers, students, and schools may realize by contracting for instruction. Also included are the results from two national surveys about the legal authority of school boards to contract for instruction, and a chart to help administrators identify the fully allocated costs of in-house and contract service. 23 pages. … more

Michigan Schools: Doing More With Less

What financially hobbles our schools is not a lack of money, but a lack of money management. Contracting with the private sector offers a promising solution. … more

Doing More With Less: Competitive Contracting for School Support Services

Competitive contracting can provide schools with expertise, flexibility, and cost efficiencies not always available with in-house service provision. If they are properly designed and monitored, contracts between schools and private providers can help school administrators do more with less. Includes step-by-step guidelines for the "make or buy" decision, tells how to avoid pitfalls, and suggests measures for contractor evaluation. 26 pages. … more

When Opposites Attract: Public Schools and Private Enterprise

Without additional spending, school administrators can take advantage of private sector expertise, accountability, and cost-effectiveness for public education. … more

Making Schools Work: Contracting Options for Better Management

Can America's public schools be improved? Unquestionably. Without additional spending, school administrators can take advantage of the expertise of the private sector, introducing innovations that will make a world of difference. This study reveals dozens of examples of private companies now providing management, instructional, and support services to public schools across America. A must-read for anyone interested in changing public education by putting competition and the profit motive to work. 28 pages. … more