Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A failed experiment?

Edison Schools was hailed as a possible savior when it came in to help run some troubled Philadelphia-area schools about four years ago -- the notion of private management was controversial, but many of the teachers at the schools involved felt an infusion of hope into districts that had been paralyzed by hopelessness. Chester Upland schools were selected as a trial run for the Edison folks, who got the contract to manage all but one of its schools. However, it's now being suggested that Edison's contract be allowed to lapse when it expires next year, in light of the continued woes of the district and a forecasted budget shortfall.
Board of Control member Adriene Irving said that she feels that "privatization hasn't worked here."

"Not that it's been Edison's fault completely," she said. "It's been a combination of the community, the administration and Edison not working together. It's best to bring in a new CEO who feels he or she will have complete control of all the schools."
It takes more than a "fresh face" (public or private) to turn things around across a whole educational system; every single person involved has to care every day. That's not easy to engineer from the top...


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