The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page is notoriously right-wing, so it was no surprise when, earlier this week, it endorsed John McCain’s education plan. But I was surprised to see that its editorial suggested that McCain cite Edison schools’ performance in Philadelphia as an example of a successful privately-run alternative to public schools — because no one, not even Edison’s leaders, disputes the company’s failure.
I was under the impression that Edison’s free-market glow had dimmed as its schools barely inched up academically, lost enrollment, were plagued by safety issues and high teacher turnover, and ultimately even were taken back over by the district that once saw the company as path out of persistent failure. The Journal mentions the six-school seizure in Philadelphia but attributes it to Democratic myopia, not market forces. Last month, the company announced that it was becoming EdisonLearning, an education technology and data management provider. Looks like the only folks who didn’t get the memo about the end of the Edison era were those penning the Wall Street Journal’s education editorial.