In the education field, no other company has piqued both ire and interest of
the public like Edison. Banking on the taxpayers' disappointment in public education,
the country's largest for-profit operator of public schools has grown from running
about 80 schools two years ago to possibly more than 140 when the 2001-2002
school year starts this fall.
Founded in 1992 as the Edison Project by Chris Whittle, the company spent three
years of intensive research and development to design innovative schools that
could operate at public school spending levels. Edison opened its first four
schools in August 1995 and has grown rapidly in every subsequent year.
At the close of the 2000-2001 school year, Edison operated 113 schools in 21
states and the District of Columbia. Schools managed included many charter schools,
which Edison operates under management contracts with local school districts
and charter school boards.
In 2001, it will add schools in Indiana and Nevada to its roster, as well as
additional schools in existing client states. More than 57,000 students currently
attend Edison partnership schools.
Edison does not turn a school into a private institution. The school remains
part of a public district and operates on traditional tax funding. Edison takes
over by implementing the educational program, technology plans, and management
systems, and is accountable to a local authority for the performance of the
school. Edison schools remain public schools, open to all students and funded
with tax dollars.