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Inspiration, Perspiration, and Time

Inspiration, Perspiration, and Time: Operations and Achievement in Edison Schools

Brain P. Gill
Laura S. Hamilton
J.R. Lockwood
Julie A. Marsh
Ron W. Zimmer
Deanna Hill
Shana Pribesh
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 290
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  • Book Info
    Inspiration, Perspiration, and Time
    Book Description:

    In 2000, Edison Schools, the nation's largest education management organization, asked RAND to analyze its achievement outcomes and design implementation. RAND evaluated Edison's strategies for promoting student achievement in its schools, how it implemented those strategies, how its management affected student achievement, and what factors explained differences in achievement trends among its schools.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4084-8
    Subjects: Education, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Dedication
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  5. Figures
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Tables
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. Summary
    (pp. xix-xxxvi)
  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxvii-xxxviii)
  9. Acronyms
    (pp. xxxix-xl)
  10. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    Laura S. Hamilton and Brian P. Gill

    Edison Schools, Inc. is the nation’s largest private manager of public schools. During the 2004–2005 school year, approximately 65,000 students were enrolled in over 100 Edison schools in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Most of Edison’s schools are operated under contract with local districts that have sought new management of schools, often because the schools have a long history of academic failure. Other Edison schools are brand-new start-ups, typically charter schools that Edison operates under contract with a local organization holding the charter. And Edison manages a few schools under contracts with states that have instituted takeovers...

  11. CHAPTER TWO A Brief History of Edison Schools and a Review of Existing Literature
    (pp. 7-22)
    Julie A. Marsh, Ron W. Zimmer, Deanna Hill and Brian P. Gill

    This chapter presents background information that provides context for the analyses and findings discussed in subsequent chapters. First we describe the history and growth of Edison as an organization, and then we review the small body of existing research literature that has examined Edison schools.

    Private firms, both for-profit and nonprofit, have long maintained contractual relationships with public schools in the United States. Historically, such contractual relationships were often limited to the provision of materials, such as textbooks and testing materials, or support services, such as transportation and food services (Hentschke, Oschman, and Snell, 2003). Although some firms provided educational...

  12. CHAPTER THREE Inspiration: Edison’s Strategies for “World-Class” Education
    (pp. 23-52)
    Brian P. Gill, Julie A. Marsh, Deanna Hill, Laura S. Hamilton and Shana Pribesh

    The stated educational aim of Edison’s school-management business is the provision of “world-class education” to all of its students. Edison has defined a “world-class” education as one that “cultivates the mind to be ready for opportunities of every kind” in a rapidly changing world (Edison Schools, undated Web page [e]). In Edison’s view, this means that its students should have access to the breadth of content—including art, music, and foreign languages beginning in the primary grades of elementary school—that is available to students of elite independent private schools. Edison also defines the critical primary measure of “world-class” education,...

  13. CHAPTER FOUR Perspiration: The Edison Model in the Schools
    (pp. 53-92)
    Brian P. Gill, Julie A. Marsh, Deanna Hill, Shana Pribesh, Ron W. Zimmer and Laura S. Hamilton

    The ground-level implementation of Edison’s strategies—including both resources and accountability systems—is the issue of interest in this chapter. Even if Edison’s strategies appear comprehensive and coherent in theory, their success in improving school performance and student achievement is ultimately determined by their implementation in schools. This chapter examines how Edison’s accountability systems and resources are implemented in a sample of Edison elementary schools. The discussion reverses the order from the preceding chapter—here discussing accountability systems first, followed by resources—because this structure provides the opportunity to explore the extent to which differences in the implementation of the...

  14. CHAPTER FIVE Methodology for Examining Academic Achievement in Edison Schools
    (pp. 93-118)
    J. R. Lockwood, Laura S. Hamilton, Brian P. Gill and Ron W. Zimmer

    Chapters Five through Seven describe our analyses of students’ academic achievement in Edison schools. In this chapter, we describe the statistical methodology we use to examine students’ academic achievement in Edison schools. We begin with a discussion of the research questions that this study addresses. We then describe our methodological approach, which was designed to address the research questions within the constraints of the available data. The subsequent two chapters present the results and discuss their interpretation.

    Before turning to the specific features of our analysis, it is important to understand the questions that the study was designed to address...

  15. CHAPTER SIX Time: Effects of Edison Management on Academic Achievement
    (pp. 119-144)
    Laura S. Hamilton, J. R. Lockwood, Brian P. Gill and Ron W. Zimmer

    In this chapter, we present the results of the analyses that are designed to examine average academic achievement effects in Edison schools. We report analyses addressing three different questions about Edison schools’ performance:

    1. What are the recent trends in rates of student proficiency in reading and math in currently operating Edison schools? How do those trends compare to those of schools serving similar populations?

    2. How do achievement trends from the beginning of Edison management (Y1) in each school compare to achievement trends in non-Edison schools serving similar populations?

    3. For schools existing prior to the initiation of Edison management, how do...

  16. CHAPTER SEVEN Inside the Black Box: Differences in Achievement Among Edison Schools
    (pp. 145-162)
    Brian P. Gill, Laura S. Hamilton, J. R. Lockwood and Ron W. Zimmer

    The results presented in Chapter Six focus on the average performance of all Edison schools across Edison’s ten-year history of managing schools. Those results also reveal, however, that regardless of which comparison group, baseline score, and operation year is examined, some Edison schools achieve larger gains than comparison schools, whereas others post smaller gains. In this chapter, we present results of analyses that are designed to identify factors related to the different levels of success across Edison schools.

    Some of the variation in performance among Edison schools was discussed in Chapter Six, where we presented the percentages of schools whose...

  17. CHAPTER EIGHT Conclusions and Implications
    (pp. 163-176)
    Laura S. Hamilton and Brian P. Gill

    Edison-managed schools served approximately 65,000 students in the 2004–2005 school year, more than most school systems in the United States. Edison students, their parents, educators, and policymakers have a clear stake in how well Edison achieves its goals. Moreover, there is growing interest in the broader topic of school privatization, in part as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which includes provisions to turn unsuccessful schools over to outside management companies. As the nation’s largest private operator of public schools, Edison’s experiences are relevant to this broader debate about private management.

    The objectives of this...

  18. APPENDIX A Causal Inference in the Analysis of Academic Achievement in Edison Schools
    (pp. 177-184)
    J. R. Lockwood
  19. APPENDIX B Analyses in Which Each Edison School Was Included
    (pp. 185-194)
  20. APPENDIX C Calculating Standard Errors for Estimated Effects
    (pp. 195-200)
  21. APPENDIX D Comparison of Traditional and Rank-Based Z-Scores
    (pp. 201-202)
    J. R. Lockwood
  22. APPENDIX E Comparison of Gain Score Method to an Alternative Approach Using Predicted Level Scores
    (pp. 203-204)
    J. R. Lockwood
  23. APPENDIX F Comparison of Schools with Large and Small Enrollment Change Between Y0 and Y1
    (pp. 205-206)
  24. APPENDIX G Changes in Demographic Characteristics of Edison Students Through Years Four and Five
    (pp. 207-208)
  25. APPENDIX H Comparison of Results for Philadelphia Schools and Other Schools
    (pp. 209-210)
  26. APPENDIX I Comparison of Recent Change Analyses Using District Versus State Comparison Schools
    (pp. 211-212)
  27. APPENDIX J Comparison of Y1 and Y0 Results Using District Versus State Comparison Schools
    (pp. 213-214)
  28. APPENDIX K Supplemental Analyses to Explore the Y0 Results
    (pp. 215-232)
  29. APPENDIX L Comparison of Y1 and Y0 Analyses Using a Common Set of Edison Schools
    (pp. 233-234)
  30. APPENDIX M Differences in Z-Score Changes for Edison Schools That Were Managed by Edison for at Least Four Years
    (pp. 235-236)
  31. References
    (pp. 237-250)