Book of the Month|
Do Private Schools Serve Difficult-to-Educate Students? Janet R. Beales and Thomas F. Bertonneau, October 1997, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 70 pps. $5.00, paper.
This booklet is an in-depth research report on the institutions, programs and resources that are available to educate at-risk, disabled, and incarcerated youth.
Public school districts often rely on private sector providers when they are unable to serve special-needs students. They refer these students to private schools that educate them under contract with government agencies.
Who are these special-needs children? They are the abused, the homeless, the disabled, the substance abusers. Often, they require teaching that also involves behavior modification, independent living skills, or skills to help them deal with a particular disability.
The providers featured in Private Schools are divided into three categories: nonpublic schools (which serve children at public expense), private-tuition schools (at parent expense), and homeschools. Boys Town USA is an example of a private institution serving children in the catchall category of "at risk." Nonpublic schools serving children in that category are available in at least 17 states, with at least seven states having formal, legislated programs enabling public schools to contract with non-public schools.
The report includes a number of case studies that provide a close-up look at the institutions and programs that are available. For example, at Father Flanagan's Boys Town in Nebraska, 83% of all residents graduate from high school or earn a GED, which compares to the 55% graduation rate for children placed in foster care. This success is even more impressive when one considers that Boys Town children had been abused, neglected, and abandoned.
Do Private Schools Serve Difficult-to-Educate Students? is an informative guide for parents, educators, social workers, and anyone dealing with special-needs children. Call (517) 631-0900, or send $5.00 to Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 140 W. Main St., P.O. Box 568, Midland, MI 48640 (refer to #S9703). Fax (517) 631-0964, web site http://www.mackinac.org/, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.