On June 28–the same day the local school board voted not to revoke the Edison charter school in San Francisco–Edison Schools, Inc. announced extraordinary gains on recent standardized tests at a number of its schools across the nation.
Significantly, the schools involved serve students who traditionally have not succeeded. Nearly 97 percent of the students in the schools are minority, and over 70 percent are eligible for the federal free or reduced price lunch program.
Detroit Edison Public School Academy, an urban school serving students in K-8, increased its percent satisfactory on the Michigan high-stakes assessment, MEAP, to 71.4 in fourth-grade math and 90.4 in fourth-grade reading, gains of 44 and 57 percent respectively. Washington-Edison Elementary School in Battle Creek showed gains of 17 and 41 percent in fourth-grade math and reading respectively. These gains are especially striking since the state as a whole has not seen average fourth-grade scores increase at all over the past three years.
Montebello-Edison Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland was taken over by the state of Maryland several years ago because of poor academic performance; it was contracted to Edison in fall 2000. Montebello posted some of the highest scores, as well as score gains, in the entire city. First-grade students posted median scores at the 93rd percentile in reading and at the 92nd percentile in math on the nationally normed CTBS, representing gains of 51 and 67 percent respectively. Substantial gains were made in every grade.
Edison’s New Covenant Charter School in Albany, New York–a school nearly closed by the state before Edison took over management–posted the fifth-highest gains of all elementary schools in Albany County on New York’s high-stakes grade four English Language Arts exam, improving the school’s passing rate by 17 percent.
“The accomplishments of these schools indicate that the comprehensive program that Edison has been fine-tuning over the last six years in schools throughout America is living up to its full potential,” said John Chubb, Edison’s chief education officer. “With these huge gains in such a range of places, we believe we have a plan that can provide world-class results anywhere.”
Edison Schools currently manages 113 public schools with a total enrollment of approximately 57,000 students.