John Golle thinks public-school systems could benefit from learning the ABCs of good management. His company, Education Alternatives, has run two private schools in Minnesota as for-profit businesses for the past several years.

The program: smaller classes, state-of-the-art technology, and extensive parental involvement. Guided by comprehensive interviews of parents and children, the company draws up an educational road map for each child, reflecting academic interests, hobbies, and family life. There are no report cards, only progress reports measuring a student's achievement versus personal goals. The results? Golle's students rise two grade levels annually.

Come next fall Golle will test his know-how with a public school in Florida's Dade County.

-- Elizabeth Conlin