ON-Lion Letter

Recently, private-school leaders have taken notice of some of the propelling forces behind charter-school growth -- charter management organizations (CMOs) and education management organizations (EMOs).  To achieve sustainability and growth in the private-school sector, some private schools have adopted a network model through private school management organizations (PSMOs), which are independent entities that operate or help operate three or more private schools.

Private School Pioneers:  Studying the Emerging Field of Private School Management Organizations, a December report from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice in Indianapolis, examines the operations of existing PSMOs and defines them by typologies.  The authors also warn of potential pitfalls, surface questions for future research, and recommend ways to engage with these fledgling organizations.

"There is much more to learn about these organizations, especially as the field grows and diversifies," the write.  "Researchers should study and report on numerous aspects of PSMOs.  Topics include, but are not limited to:  how a common culture is built across PSMO schools; the nuances of the PSMO-church relationship; PSMO finances; and, most importantly, student outcomes.

"We hope that education researchers, analysts, philanthropists, and policymakers will be intrigued by what we've learned so far, share our excitement about the potential for this new field, and decide to explore PSMOs as viable and valuable options for families," they conclude.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports the Friedman Foundation.

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