Date Approved

2-9-2016

Date Posted

7-27-2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Dr. Ella M. Burton – Chairperson

Committee Member

Dr. Ronald Williamson – Member

Committee Member

Dr. Jaclynn Tracy – Member

Committee Member

Dr. Janet Fisher – Member

Abstract

There are several types of organizations that propose to educate students living within a large urban city in southeastern Michigan. These organizations manage portfolios of schools and differ in a variety of ways. Some of them are for-profit corporations, and others are nonprofit. There is a portfolio of schools directly managed by the traditional public school system, and yet another managed by a state agency. In addition to the aforementioned, there are several that are empowered by state law to authorize charter schools to founding boards of directors, who who in turn contract with management companies or attempt to manage the schools themselves. With this variety and complexity of educational delivery options, it would appear that parents and students have a great amount of choice. Based upon Milton Friedman’s market-driven theory, this environment of choice should drive each of the organizations to improve its performance, and as a result drive excellence in the marketplace. This study attempts to analyze the performance of the various types of educational organizations and determine which performs better. Even more importantly, the study seeks to identify whether Friedman’s theory has resulted in providing families with authentic educational options. Findings from this study appear to suggest that the traditional public school district in this large urban community in Southeastern Michigan was able to produce higher standardized test scores for African American students in the 4th and 8th grades when compared to “for-profit” Education Management Organization led charter schools within the same community.

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