In October last year, the American Federation of Teachers issued a report that had little praise for the performance of public schools managed by Edison Schools Inc., saying the company had a “mediocre record” and that “Edison schools mostly do as well or worse than comparable schools; occasionally they do better.”
Edison’s Chief Education Officer, Dr. John Chubb, called the AFT report “political diatribe dressed up in the guise of science,” and pointed out that since the company had been asked to save the lowest of low-performing schools, it was not appropriate to compare their performance to that of already successful schools.
Surprisingly, a month earlier, the AFT affiliate in Florida’s Miami-Dade County and Edison had issued a joint statement of intent to enter into “a unique partnership” whereby Edison would build and manage 10 new charter schools. The United Teachers of Dade has submitted a charter school proposal to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools for the construction of seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and one senior high school. Total enrollment would exceed 12,000 students.
In an effort to improve both the supply and the quality of teachers for its expanding operations, Edison last year initiated a research project to explore the viability of establishing the company’s own teacher education colleges. Heading this Edison Teacher Colleges project is Debra McGriff, a former superintendent of the Detroit public schools.