School for Profit

Private companies can run public schools, but can they make them pay?

Hi, my name is Alice, and this is Mrs. Morse's third-grade music class. Would you care to join us?" Who wouldn't? Fetching classroom greeters are just one of the appealing features of the Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet School in Hamden, Conn., a for-profit public school with an exuberant following among its students, parents and teachers. Run by Edison Schools Inc., a company whose shares are traded on the NASDAQ, the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade facility draws students from four local districts and sports a waiting list with more than 1,000 names on it. "We're a curiosity," says principal Dale Bernardoni, who explains that everyone from...

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