Learning on the Job: When Business Takes on Public Schools

Learning on the Job: When Business Takes on Public Schools

by Steven F. Wilson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674019466

ISBN-13: 9780674019461

Pub. Date: 01/15/2006

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Entrepreneurial creativity, private investment, and competition have been among America's great strengths. Can they be harnessed to improve troubled public schools? Or is private management of public schools at best a gimmick, and at worst an undemocratic sellout?

In the 1990s, some failing school systems turned to private education management organizations

Overview

Entrepreneurial creativity, private investment, and competition have been among America's great strengths. Can they be harnessed to improve troubled public schools? Or is private management of public schools at best a gimmick, and at worst an undemocratic sellout?

In the 1990s, some failing school systems turned to private education management organizations to manage their schools. The EMOs promised academic improvement to families and profits to their investors. Wall Street and foundations lavished hundreds of millions of dollars on for-profit and nonprofit start-ups, and thousands of students' educations began to be directed not by school officials, but by private companies.

In Learning on the Job, industry insider Steven Wilson, the founder and CEO of Advantage Schools, looks back on the first tumultuous decade of this social experiment. Digging deep into the academic, financial, logistic, and political records of seven leading EMOs, including his own, he reveals the potential and pitfalls of their business and educational models, and their actual successes in the classrooms and the boardrooms. Have they given their students a better education? Can they succeed as businesses? Can businesses in fact run better public schools than school districts?

With remarkable honesty and fairness on an ideologically charged topic, Wilson describes the follies and wisdom, overreaching and real accomplishment, of the first education entrepreneurs. Acknowledging that they had much to learn about the real-world challenges of running schools, he passionately defends the promise of private involvement in public schooling.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674019461
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
01/15/2006
Edition description:
ANN
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Organizations
  • 2. Business Models
  • 3. School Designs
  • 4. School Culture
  • 5. Execution
  • 6. School Leaders
  • 7. Politics and Schools
  • 8. Academic Results
  • 9. Business Results
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index

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