From August 1992 through February 1996, Education Alternatives, Inc. (EAI) provided private management of 9 out of 180 Baltimore City, Maryland, public schools. The "Tesseract" schools remained public property, and teachers continued to be public-sector employees. After three and one-half years, the city cut short the planned 5-year arrangement with EAI. This paper presents findings of two evaluations of the EAI schools conducted by the Center for Educational Research at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). A 1995 study compared the seven elementary Tesseract schools with a control group of seven elementary schools. The 1996 study offered an end-of-project summation. Findings indicate that teachers spent more time working with groups of students than did teachers in comparison schools, and that the rate of teacher turnover for both Tesseract and comparison schools did not change for the period 1991-92 through 1994-95. The EAI schools experienced a modest increase in class size; some loss of art, music, and physical education positions; and substantial decreases in special education and Chapter 1 staffing. Both comparison and Tesseract schools saw little change in students' Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) scores over 3 years and little difference in program effect for continuously enrolled students. EAI was hampered by not having a planning year to fully develop its design and by union hostility. The program was prematurely terminated primarily because of financial issues, but also because test scores did not significantly improve. Given a clear picture of costs and results, the public might pay more for schools yielding better results, but not for the same results. (Contains 3 references, and 12 tables.) (LMI)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).
Baltimore City Public Schools MD; Education Alternatives Inc