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School boards should consider contracting with a variety of public and private organizations to operate schools, according to a report by the Program on Reinventing Public Education.

The program is a partnership between RAND's Institute for Education and Training and the Institute for Public Policy and Management at the University of Washington.

The report, by Paul T. Hill, an education researcher, argues that a new approach to school governance is necessary to break the overregulation that, he says, is tying the hands of educators.

Big-city school boards should start by contracting out for the operation of their lowest-performing schools, Mr. Hill suggests. Each contract would define a school's mission, guarantee public funding, and insure accountability.

Under such a system, he writes, teachers would be employed by schools rather than by districts. Contract schools would receive funding on a per-student basis and would be required to spend it all on instruction, thus reducing spending on bureaucracy.

Copies of the report are available for $3 for shipping and handling for the first copy and $1 for each additional copy from RAND's distribution center, (310) 451-7002.

Child-Abuse Report: More than one million children in the United States were abused or neglected in 1993, and about 2.9 million were reported as suspected child-abuse victims, according to the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse.

About 15 out of every 1,000 American children were victims of abuse, resulting in an estimated 1,299 deaths last year, the group said in its annual report. The report is based on surveys of state child-protection agencies.

And while 24 states reported increased funding for child-welfare services last year, there were nearly the same number of confirmed cases of child abuse as in 1992, the survey shows. An estimated 1,016,000 children were abused or neglected last year--a slight decrease from the 1992 figure of 1,021,000.

Since 1990, the number of child-abuse reports has increased a total of 12 percent, the survey found. In the 1980's, reports increased an average of 10 percent each year.

Vol. 13, Issue 33

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