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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chris Whittle's latest private school scheme, and why Joel Klein deserves a cut of the action

There's a long article in today's NY Times about Chris Whittle’s latest scam; starting a for-profit private school called Avenues in Chelsea that whose tuition will be almost $40,000 per year: The Best School $75 Million Can Buy .
NYC parents are so desperate to get their kids into a good school that they are willing to pre-pay before the school is even open, to ensure their children have preference on an “early admission” list.
FYI, both Joel Klein and Wendy Kopp of TFA attended one of the glossy promotional events for this school.  Perhaps this is what Klein meant when he told Manhattan parents that they have “choices.”  No mention of how overcrowded downtown Manhattan public schools are, and how this is feeding into this frenzy.  
Klein’s delinquency in failing to create enough public school seats and allowing class sizes and Kindergarten waiting lists to grow out of control will likely help his friend Whittle make money; perhaps he should get a cut of the action.  (For more on this see: Why Aren’t Parents Rioting in the Streets?)
Whittle, of course, is the former head of Edison charter schools, which also promised to make money for its investors and provide a superior education, based on "efficiencies" that he would deliver, and failed to make good on either of these promises.  Chris Cerf, the former Edison COO, is now Acting NJ Commissioner of Education; perhaps he can go into business with Whittle setting up more private schools, once he's helped to destroy the NJ public school system.
Here's a NY Magazine article from 2008 about a previous Whittle private school  that never materialized.


Leonie Haimson said...

Does this juxtaposition make any sense?

“At Avenues the average class size of 18 will be what Whittle says is slightly higher than at comparable private schools -- though class size for some instruction, like reading, may be as low as eight. While senior administrators may be getting equity in their deals and some teachers may earn top dollar -- as much as 20% higher than the average -- increasing class size can be a way to reduce labor costs. Whittle, Schmidt, and president Alan Greenberg (a former Esquire magazine publisher and media executive) were sufficiently confident of their business plan that together they personally guaranteed the first $7.5 million of the private equity investment.
The challenge for Avenues is to combine the luster of the academy with the lucre of the marketplace. "This is an exciting harbinger," says Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City public school system who recently became CEO of News Corp.'s (NWS) educational division. "We are stuck with a 19th-century education delivery system: 20 or 26 kids in a classroom, with a single teacher expected to do everything. Whittle and his investors are making a bet that this can be ramped up to thrive in a global, high-tech world."

whichschoolmag said...

Lesser the student in class the more attention a teacher will be given on each child and they can concentrate on growth and development of each child.
Private Schools Melbourne