Sharing the Load
Under Edison Schools Inc., educators work in teams, a model that encourages the development of leadership throughout a building.
For more than 10 years, the education community has watched the corporate ups and downs of Edison Schools Inc., the New York City company that has roiled the waters with its aim of making money from public schools. Long a target of those wary of such aims, the now privately held Edison made headlines with its four-year run as a public company, turned a profit in 2001, and later saw its stock price sink to less than $2 a share.
Far less attention has been paid to what Edison schools actually do that makes them distinctive. It turns out that the company insists on spreading leadership widely in a school—a notion that is gaining traction among policy experts.
“The concept is, a school needs a leadership team,” says Chris Whittle, Edison’s chief executive officer. “A lot of public schools don’t really believe that. They think all they need is a terrific principal. But they need a whole team to drive...
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