The Edison Schools
Corporate Schooling and the Assault on Public Education
Routledge – 2005 – 248 pages
The story of the Edison Schools is a gripping tale of money, kids, and greed. What began in the 1980s as an enterprise to transform public schools quickly became a troubled business battling falling test scores and dismal stock prices. How did the most ambitious for-profit education company in U.S. history lose respect, money, and credibility in such a short time?
Revealing how American McEducation went from glory to crisis, The Edison Schools tracks entrepreneur Christopher Whittle's plan to introduce a standardized nationwide curriculum and cut administrative waste. Education specialist Kenneth J. Saltman finds that the critics' predictions came true in Edison schools across the country: Experienced teachers left in droves, students were virtually given answers to standardized tests to drive up scores, and difficult students were "counselored" out.
"Informative, engaging and elegantly written, this book brilliantly reveals how corporations and their drive to maximize profit are infiltrating our public school system, imposing their priorities on our children, and undermining values of community and democracy." -- Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation
"This is a brilliant and eye-opening book about the baleful influence corporate culture is having upon public education and should be read by every parent, student, and citizen concerned about the fate of public education." -- Henry A. Giroux, Global Television Network Chair in Communication Studies and English at McMaster University
"The privatization of America's public schools is one of the most important political projects of this century, and this agenda cannot be understood without also understanding the history and trajectory of the Edison Schools, the largest for-profit school management company in the United States." -- Alex Molnar, Professor and Director, Education Policy Studies Laboratory, Arizona State University
"well-documented historical critique of Edison, Inc., which has tried to create the country's largest for-profit network of schools." -- Rethinking Schools Online
"A well-documented historical critique of Edison, Inc., which has tried to create the country's largest for-profit network of schools. The author scrutinizes a range of important issues from the reading and math curriculum used in Edison schools to the broader political forces that are advocating privatization of schools." -- Rethinking Schools Online
"The Edison Schools is an important book in the era of No Child Left Behind, for it powerfully addresses the issues of race and class that underlie current educational reform…Saltman's engaging and limpid writing style makes this book accessible to all audiences, and will be equally useful to researchers, educators, and communities struggling to decide about privatization in their own school district."--Education Review: A Journal of Book Reviews (on-line), (November 12,2005)
"Easy to read with minimal reliance on jargon or esoteric theoretical terms, the book is designed for a broad audience beyond academe…I highly recommed The Edison Schools. I am confident it will contribute to the discussion on the future of education and the need for democratic renewal."--Teachers College Record (on-line), September 20, 2005.
Kenneth J. Saltman is Assistant Professor, Social and Cultural Studies in Education, DePaul University.