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Re: Edison again

Here's a partial answer to Eric Crump's question about Edison schools...

They put an intial infusion of capital (gifts from ideological corporate donors) into refurbishing the physical plant. Carpeting, computers (including take-homes), etc. They hire brand-new, low salaried "teachers" who have no union protection, and who must obey orders. They prefer Success For All, which is highly scripted, as their Language Arts program.

There has been some expose journalism on the troubles of the San Francisco Edison school during this past summer in the SF Bay Guardian alternative paper. For example here are some quotes from the July 19 article


Frustrated by long hours, a rigid curriculum that emphasizes
testing, and what they describe as a Big Brother atmosphere,
teachers at Edison are abandoning what they initially saw as a
welcome experiment. Even those who accepted the concept of a
corporate schoolhouse now say ESI's cookie-cutter, bottom-line
mentality harms everything from teacher morale to student
development and diversity.

"We feel like we were disposable teachers," said physical
education teacher Kathy Fleming, who is leaving Edison. "They
think that they can just plug anybody in ? any human thing with a
pulse ? train them, and that's it. But that's not the case. These kids
are challenging. They need strong, consistent, highly skilled

The school's test scores continue to soar, and teachers note
some signs of progress. But with massive workloads and a
restrictive corporate philosophy, Rebecca Aviel says, "Edison is
a devastating place to be a teacher. The children, in the end, are
going to suffer." Aviel quit teaching fourth grade at Edison in
Working for ESI has its "perks," such as stock options and slightly
higher pay than public schools offer. But teachers say the added
money doesn't compensate for Edison's wearying workload ? a
full one-third more than that of public schools.

Last year Edison teachers worked 205 days, 24 more than San
Francisco's public school teachers. On each of those days,
Edison class time ran one to two hours longer. Teachers were
also required to work one Saturday a month. Added together, that
amounts to more than 50 additional days of work ? though Edison
salaries were only slightly higher. (Under a recent agreement,
Edison promised teachers a 2 percent pay hike and a 10 percent
reduction in work time.)

Plus, teachers say their schedules were constantly booked with
meetings, forcing them to do all their prep work after hours.

"It was exhausting for the kids and the teachers," said first-grade
teacher Anastasia Crocker, who is leaving Edison.

At 07:19 AM 12/23/00, you wrote:
I don't know much about how the Edison schools actually operate. Can
anybody shed any light on their practices, who they hire, how they tend to
structure their learning environments, what teaching methods they favor?

--Eric Crump

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