An editor of a national publication asked me if I read the piece "The Best School $75 Million Can Buy" in the Sunday NYTimes and what I thought of Whittle's The Avenues: The World School concept. I responded by saying, for me, it sounds very much like Whittle's '92 Edison Project all over again. He had heavy hitters working with him then—Chubb, Schmidt, Finn, and Alexander. It did not work. It is important to point out that it is tough enough for public schools having to deal with tight budgets and unions, but to also have to deal with profit-making was too much to ask. Can you blame the public schools?
Now we have Whittle, Round 2. I see the same dynamic: big building, $75M, heavy hitters—Tingley, Matoon, Dunnen, Schmidt—and a market that begs for more schools, independent and public. Certainly, we know that for-profit schools work; look how many there are in the Montessori community.
At our independent school tri-state association heads conference in November, Whittle will be one of the speakers to address the assembled heads of NY, CT, and NJ independent schools.
For now, it seems like we will have to take a wait-and-see posture.