"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, February 02, 2007

Edison Panned, and Whittle Immediately Asks for More Business

A day after a Rand study canned Edison's corporate welfare school management model as no better in producing test scores than the public schools they replaced, one would think Whittle and Chubb would be showing some signs of modesty in their edu-business claims. Obviously, they have been studying the Bush PR model, for they are employing the tried and untrue approach of offering a bad offense as the best defense.

Today they boldly (foolishly) asked the Philadelphia school district for more business, proving once more the neocon adage: if at first you don't succeed, pretend you did and try the same thing again. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

One day after a research report panned the test-score performance of outside managers in Philadelphia's public schools, Edison Schools Inc. - one of those managers - said it would seek even more business from the school district.

The for-profit Edison, which operates 20 of the 41 district schools under private management, wants the district to hire it for after-school programming, staff training, data analysis, instructional planning, and other services, said John Chubb, Edison's chief education officer. Those services could be provided to schools throughout the 272-school district.

The company also wants greater autonomy in running the schools it manages, including converting a "small" number to charter schools.

Chubb made the assertion at a morning news conference in Philadelphia where research groups released a report that said Edison and the other managers showed no greater improvement in math and reading scores than the district over the last five years, despite having received $90 million in additional funding.

Paul Vallas, district chief executive, said yesterday that Chubb's announced desire for more business from the district was "premature."

District officials are awaiting the results of two other studies on the private managers, due in the next couple of months. The company's five-year contract expires this summer; the reform commission could decide as early as March whether to extend, modify or jettison the contract. . . .

Premature--I love it. Here is a nice piece, also from the Inquirer, that puts the Whittle Philadelphia adventure in some historical context.

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