Analyzing the Interactions of Public and Private Institutions in Education Policy with an Eye Toward Swim Lesson Implementation

Author: Casey Wilson
Major: Political Science
Approved: Spring 2019
Status: Completed

Swimming is a fun pastime for many, but it can also be dangerous, as accidental drowning is consistently one of the top ten causes of unintentional injury and death in the United States. This begs the question: what can be done to prevent this? Many aquatic organizations have implemented swim lesson programs to mitigate drowning risks, such as the World Water Association’s “World’s Largest Swim Lesson,” an annual international effort to expand drowning prevention education. In 2015, the Minnesota House of Representatives created a commission of stakeholders to provide recommendations on swim lesson education after a failed effort to implement swim lessons in public schools statewide. The commission broadly recommended public-private partnerships to carry out these lessons. This type of partnership exists between public schools and other organizations in many different areas of study. They have shown success in the fields of science, arts, and experiential, hands-on education, and have the potential to be successful in swim lessons in public K-12 schools. This research seeks to find the best practices that can be implemented in curriculum formation; program implementation, timing, and funding; and evaluation of student success and the overall program. The methodology employs interviews of administrators involved in private-public partnerships which provide swim lessons and qualitative analysis of practices utilized in these programs. Public-private partnerships were found to be beneficial in several schools in the United States, and frequently used the American Red Cross swim lesson curriculum for instruction. Discussion of results includes similarities and differences between swim lesson programs, analysis of best practices, and a recommendation of a program or programs that can be implemented to maximize benefits to students, schools, and private organizations.