MIDLAND-If the failing Inkster School District expects success when it turns management over to New York-based Edison Schools, Inc., it must clearly specify the goals it wants to achieve, then refuse to micromanage Edison's efforts, allowing the company the freedom to meet those goals, an education policy expert from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy said today.

"The Inkster Board of Education must establish a performance-based contract that specifies desired end results and gives Edison the freedom to pursue them," said Matthew Brouillette, director of education policy for the Mackinac Center. "Privatization is not a panacea. It can fail, if poorly planned. But if it is properly structured, the Inkster-Edison partnership holds great promise to increase educational quality and provide financial stability to the district."

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think-tank based in Midland, monitors privatization efforts in education across the state and provides assistance to schools seeking to improve quality and efficiency. "If the board does not establish a proper monitoring system or Edison is not given the authority to make necessary personnel and governance changes, then we will not see dramatic improvement in Inkster's academic and financial situation," Brouillette warned.

For more information about privatization and education policy, contact the Mackinac Center for Public Policy at (989) 631-0900 or visit the Mackinac Center's Web site at www.mackinac.org.