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Fellow blogger Lisa Snell’s

Filed at 8:41 am under by dcobranchi

Fellow blogger Lisa Snell’s article on school choice is linked today from EducationNews.org. She makes some good points but we diverge when it comes to Edison Schools.

I applaud Chris Whittle and find it fascinating that Edison has lasted this long. They have, partly because they have a superior product, and when the product is well implemented and the contract goes their way, student achievement goes up.

I don’t have any data on student achievment at Edison-run schools, but IMO, this company is little more than a scam. Here’s a link to an article on TheStreet.com that dates back to Edison’s IPO. AFAIK, not much has changed since then. The company has yet to turn a profit and was on the brink of bankruptcy a few weeks ago (before securing additional venture funding).

In fact, the overall financial situation at Edison is even worse than the operating numbers suggest. That’s because, buried deep in the registration statement, can be found the astonishing news that this allegedly for-profit operation is actually taking handouts from various unnamed philanthropies to run the business.

We’ll just pass over the tax-related issues raised by such transactions and suggest that the acceptance of philanthropic aid to run a profit-making enterprise in fact amounts to nothing more than gussied-up begging, and that to get a true picture of the company’s revenue-generating abilities as an actual business you’ve got to get the panhandling out of the numbers.

UPDATE: The Boston Globe is all over Edison in this editorial published yesterday.

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