Considering School Turnarounds: Market Research and Analysis

March 1, 2007

An increasing number of states and districts are taking action to turn around chronically underperforming schools—resulting in a rapidly emerging market for school providers willing to help school systems tackle this challenge.

 To gain a deeper understanding of this market, NewSchools asked Mass Insight Education and Research Institute to conduct an analysis of the market for organizations seeking to work with districts to turn these schools around. The research team developed detailed analyses for markets in which NewSchools has active investments, including Washington, DC, Chicago, New York, Oakland and Los Angeles. The research focused on the appetite and readiness for this kind of restructuring on both “sides” of the market: within districts and among providers.

While the study revealed that there is extraordinary demand for school restructuring – with over a third of the schools in these districts expected to enter restructuring by 2010 – it also found a lack of alignment between the needs of providers and those of school districts. Most school management organizations expressed some level of interest in school restructuring, but only if given the autonomy they believe they need to operate successful public schools.