Edison Schools was publicly traded on the NASDAQ for several years, during which time its quarterly and annual reports were available. But then its stock was all purchased back and it was "taken private" (people confuse this with "private school," but it's a whole different use, as in "privately held"). So now that info is not available and we have no idea how it survives. In the years when I was following the company closely (before it was completely irrelevant), it was moving quietly away from managing schools and into contracting to provide supplemental services -- consulting, tutoring, child-care and so forth. That business model is neither unusual nor newsworthy.
Nadelstern, whoever he is, is either terribly misinformed or just knowingly giving a dishonest description. If he's just making **** up, of course, he doesn't really "believe" at all. Almost all past Edison Schools cheerleaders now pretend they never heard of it -- it's unusual nowadays to actually try to describe it as a success because that's so flamingly untrue that it destroys the speaker's credibility.
Here is the brief summary of Edison Schools' history from our research-and-
Speaking of Edison, their fingerprints are all over the failed management philosophy of DOE in the person of the now-departed but not forgotten Chris Cerf.
Cerf’s management philosophy: Put lots of money into PR and implement a lot of crazy management theories because you know nothing and care less about what actually works in education.
Meanwhile, this week, in a very rare move, the SUNY charter school institute finally closed a failing charter school in Albany that had been run by Edison called New Covenant. This had been recommended by their advisory board for years but they had rejected their counsel up to now.
What’s surprising to me is how Peter Murphy from the NY Charter School Association, the chief lobbying group for charter schools in the state, then wrote a post disassociating themselves from the school, saying that the mistakes SUNY made in approving it no longer occur, and implying that its failure was expected given its association with Edison!
After 2000, SUNY never again allowed for either mistake to be made with charter school proposals. In addition, for years, Edison Schools, Inc. managed New Covenant and several other charters in New York. Today, Edison manages only one school, Harriet Tubman in the Bronx, and has no prospects for more charters in New York any time soon.’
Guess NYCSA is no longer getting any money from Edison and/or Chris whittle!
How does Edison survive, Caroline? On its profit-making tutoring companies, the proliferation of which was engineered by NCLB? They are also appear to be trying to move into the next generation of moneymaking enterprises promoted by the Obama/Duncan administration: online learning.
What’s also surprising is how DOE’s Eric Nadelstern, widely believed to be the heir-apparent to Joel Klein if Klein ever gets sick of the job and/or gets a better offer, vehemently commented on Peter Goodman’s blog recently against the efforts of the UFT and ACORN to organize against the takeover of several public schools by Edison that Harold Levy had agreed to, years ago.
Unfortunately for Levy, the state law said that a conversion to a charter school requires a vote of the parents at the school, and Edison decisively lost these votes. Just as charters would lose a vote in NYC communities today, and lost the parent advisory votes in LA recently.
How based on Edison’s failing record elsewhere in running public schools, Nadelstern should bring this sad story up now is beyond me:
Eric Nadelstern: The most cynical event in my 38 years with the NYC Public Schools occured [sic] a few years back when the UFT and ACORN prevented Harold Levy, the previous Chancellor, from engaging Edison to manage 5 of the worst performing elementary schools in the City. Then, as now, charges of privatization and racism drowned out a more rationale debate about the future of low performing schools that persistently fail all children, but mostly children of color. In that struggle, the union and advocates prevailed and Edison was denied the contract; and, when the dust settled, those who opposed the Edison take-over walked away from those schools, which remained among the worst performing elementary schools in the City failing cohort after cohort of our children.
Read his post yourself and the responses by many on this list serv here: http://mets2006.
Isn’t it ironic that Nadelstern still believes in Edison when even the state charter school association has disowned them? Shows you how out of touch the educrats who inhabit the protected bubble at Tweed are.
The full NYCSA post is below.
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New Covenant Charter School Likely Closure - "Symbolic" Indeed
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 12:33 PM
Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] LA Times review: 'The Death and Life of the Great American School System' by Diane Ravitch
It happens that my oldest started kindergarten the year class size reduction (CSR) kicked in in California, 1996-97, and since we're in a fairly large urban district (San Francisco Unified), I had the opportunity to observe trends in teacher mobility. I would disagree with Schrag. CSR opened up many new teaching jobs, but I didn't see that pattern of migration.
Peter Schrag also wrote a big feature for (of all publications) the Nation PROMOTING now-failed for-profit Edison Schools as a solution for education, around early '01. As Roseann Roseannadanna would say, "Nev-er mind!" That said, Schrag has made some valuable, excellent points too, in high-profile forums, and I don't disrespect someone for not being in lockstep with my every opinion. Though he should publicly admit that he was wrong about Edison, IMHO, to earn my true respect, a la Diane Ravitch. (Schrag is relatively local to me -- a Sacramento Bee columnist who I believe lives in the Bay Area.)
'The Death and Life of the Great American School System' by Diane Ravitch
The educational conservative decries the 'hijacking' of testing, accountability and markets.
Wag more, bark less.