School, Inc.

Push Or Pull

Season 1, Episode 2 of 3

The late Andrew Coulson, education policy analyst, travels to Michigan's prestigious Cranbrook high school, one of the top ten private high schools in America, in Push or Pull, the second episode of School Inc. Cranbrook and other excellent private schools in America typically don't "scale up" to replicate their excellence on a larger stage and serve more students. So, is there some place else where scaling up excellence is happening? The answer is "yes" and it is in America's Charter schools, but when charter schools are seen to compete with public schools, there can be trouble ahead. From those involved we hear how the Sabis school, tremendously successful in Springfield, Massachusetts, was prevented from operating in nearby Brocton because a school superintendent decided such competition was simply not in the best interest of his public school district. For six years the American Indian Charter School, part of a small network of California charter schools, ranked among the top middle schools in California. However, in the spring of 2013 the Oakland Public School District voted to shut down all three American Indian Schools because the charter school had chosen to use its own special education services and not those controlled by the state, which resulted in a loss of revenue to the public school system. Not every story has a negative outcome. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the city's vibrant charter schools came to the rescue and provided the facilities and services other schools needed to get back on their feet. Finally, Coulson travels to South America for a comparison of how the success of Chile's wine industry sets the scene for the growth of the country's successful private school networks. Chile's private schools consistently outperform schools in all other Latin American countries, but trouble is always on the horizon. Still, the private school networks of Chile provide a note of optimism in Coulson's journey to discover the secrets of School Inc.

Previously Aired

3 a.m.
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