Magazine article The Nation

Privateers Flunk School

Magazine article The Nation

Privateers Flunk School

Article excerpt

John Golle was supposed to be an educational Lee Iacocca. Instead, he's turned out to be the repo man. When Golle and his company, Educational Alternatives Inc., took over Hartford's public schools in 1994 he was treated in many quarters as a savior, because he had promised to turn around a troubled city school system--doing it better, and so cheaply that he would be paid only in savings on the school budget. In January, after the Board of Education canceled his contract for gross failure to live up to those promises, Golle threatened to yank computers from the hands of hundreds of kids unless the city pays E.A.I. $3.6 million.

Hartford's decision to pull the plug on E.A.I. marks a heartening defeat of the forces of school privatization. Hartford was the first city to place its children entirely in the hands of a corporate contractor, so the symbolism of the ouster is considerable. Teachers, parents and political leaders opposed to school profiteering established a new and effective alliance this past fall, waging the hardest-fought campaign for Board of Ed seats in memory. E.A.I. fell so far short of its projections that advocates of privatization like former Education Secretary Lamar Alexander have been reduced to silence.

E.A.I.'s collapse in Hartford is the most recent in a string of setbacks for the school privateers. In November, the same company was tossed out of Baltimore's public schools, where a study by the University of Maryland revealed that Golle had cooked E.A.I.s report card on student performance. A few months earlier, the New York State Assembly banned Channel One, the commercial school television network founded by Chris Whittle, from any public classroom in the state. Whittle's other highly touted school venture, The Edison Project, which he launched with the promise of building 1,000 private McSchools, is in tatters. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.