• Research, Theory, and Analysis

    For years now, this phrase has been the tagline for Ideas & Perspectives, our flagship publication. The phrase not only reflects the content of our advisory letter, but it resides at the core of Independent School Management’s raison d'être—supporting private-independent school leaders.

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Do Vouchers and Tax Credits Increase Private School Regulation?

Released October 4, 2010. School voucher and education tax credit programs have proliferated in the United States over the past two decades. Advocates have argued that they will enable families to become active consumers in a free and competitive education marketplace, but some fear that these programs may in fact bring with them a heavy regulatory burden that could stifle market forces. Until now, there has been no systematic, empirical investigation of that concern. This "Working Paper" developed by the Cato Institute sheds light on the issue by quantifying the regulations imposed on private schools both within and outside school choice programs, and then analyzing them with descriptive statistics and regression analyses. The results are tested for robustness to alternative ways of quantifying private school regulation, and to alternative regression models, and the question of causality is addressed. The study concludes that vouchers, but not tax credits, impose a substantial and statistically significant additional regulatory burden on participating private schools.

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Full Steam Ahead: Cutting Edge Research and Opinion for Excellent Independent Schools

In the Spring 2010 edition of Independent School, NAIS, writes persuasively and interestingly in the article, “A Game-Changing Model for Financially Sustainable Schools.” ISM has written the following commentary concerning the issue of sustainability and the points that NAIS makes. ISM concurs that there is a “game changer” in private education and that this game changer will be evidenced in the finances of schools—but the finances of schools are the wrong focus for understanding what the change is.

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Full Steam Ahead: Part 2: Cutting Edge Research and Opinion for Excellent Independent Schools

As a follow-up to ISM’s “Full Steam Ahead” report, we partnered with Measuring Success to conduct a price elasticity study with 140 private schools across the United States to determine if there truly is a “tipping point” when setting tuition. The following report provides the results of that study, with the key finding that there is no mathematical relationship between tuition change and enrollment.

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4x4 Block and Intensive Scheduling

Released July 2010. This report is comprised of two sections. The first section is a brief review of research on 4x4 block scheduling. The second section provides example cases of more intensive scheduling, where students study one or two subjects at a time for several weeks. This report was prepared for ISM by Hanover Research.

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State Regulation of Private Schools

Released July 2009. State liaisons from all 50 state departments of education, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, worked to ensure the information provided concerning state regulations for private schools is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Keep in mind that, when reviewing any particular legal questions, the underlying state constitutions, laws and relevant court decisions should be consulted. Nothing in this study reflects the position of the U.S. Department of Education as to the meaning or effect of any state legal requirement. (This is a large file and may require some time to download.)

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Free to Teach: What America's Teachers Say About Teaching in Public and Private Schools

Released in May 2009. This study, published by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, presents data from a major national survey of teachers conducted by the U.S. Department of Education—the Schools & Staffing Survey. The researchers break down these observational data for public and private school teachers, in order to compare what teachers have to say about their work in each of the two school sectors. They show that public school teachers are currently working in a school system that doesn’t provide the best environment for teaching. Teachers are victims of the dysfunctional government school system right alongside their students. Exposing schools to competition, as is the case in the private school sector, is good for learning partly because it’s good for teaching.

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