Knowledge for Sale

Media mogul Chris Whittle gets a prestigious educator to head his controversial Edison Project. But can the venture help solve | the problems facing America's public schools?

Call it the Perot complex: a successful businessman achieves great wealth early in life and casts about for a higher mission. He sees the paralysis gripping a big national problem and decides the only course is radical change. Ross Perot wants to change the country from the White House; Chris Whittle wants to alter the future from your child's classroom.

The media mogul plans to create a new system of private schooling that he hopes will produce a smarter generation of American kids -- and make him and his partners a profit as well. He also expects to inspire -- indeed,...

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