Classroom Consciousness

Classroom Consciousness


News about Edison schools has shaken out statistics, parent’s
concerns about corporatization and the quality of schools, and
controversy about the company’s financial management. But some very
important voices have been left out of the debate: the
students–until now. Alissa Quart in The Nation says
that students are very aware of how Edison Schools Inc.’s corporate
strategies will affect their education, and they are taking their
own action.

Students say they are uncomfortable with Edison’s ‘corporate
culture that considers young people, and young people of color in
particular, just a demographic to be exploited for profit,’ writes
Quart. ‘Second, they see it as the final stage of high schools’
longstanding plan to increase policing of students, with measures
like metal detectors and security guards. ‘

Philadelphia public school students in December staged a walk-out
to demonstrate their disapproval of Edison. Pennsylvania Governor
Mark Schweiker was considering giving over the entire public school
system’s central administration–along with up to 60 individual
schools–to Edison management.

However, a state panel in April voted instead to turn over
management of only 20 city schools to corporate educator. Quart
argues that student disapproval had much to do with the change of
heart.

‘While theirs has been only a partial victory, it is a victory
nevertheless,’ Quart writes, ‘with some help from adults, a bunch
of adolescents have managed to considerably diminish Edison’s role
in their future.’
–Julie Madsen
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