One day after a report raised questions about the effectiveness of the city's private school managers, an official from one, Edison Schools Inc., insisted his company should not only stay on the job but be awarded a new, larger contract.
John Chubb, Edison's chief education officer, said yesterday the New York company wants to continue managing the 20 schools it has and in addition wants to provide district-wide teacher professional development services and after-school tutoring.
At a small number of schools - possibly charter schools - the company would like to implement its entire school-reform model, Chubb said, which would include hiring all of the teachers.
School district officials said Chubb's comments - made after a news conference hosted by the authors of the critical report - were news to them because Edison had not submitted a formal proposal.
"Given the results of the study, it's a bit premature to be talking about an expanded role," said Paul Vallas, school district chief executive officer. "The School Reform Commission is going to take one thing at a time."
Meanwhile, officials at Temple University, another one of the six private managers, are mulling over its future with the district, said Kent McGuire, dean of Temple's College of Education.
"Today, I would argue it's very important to Temple that it exhibit an enormous commitment to those schools, but it's not necessarily the case that we want to manage them," he said of the college's four district schools.
"I might think the best partnership we can have is through multiple forms of assistance, and not ask the district for things it can't give us."
Chubb said the report from nonprofits the RAND Corp. and Research for Action, which examined standardized reading and math test scores in the four years after the state took over the district, missed the mark in not more strongly noting that the six private managers notched steady improvement at the worst schools.
Instead, he complained, the report emphasized that the improvement was not as strong as that made at district-managed schools.
In addition to improving test scores, Chubb said, the private managers also have been fostering competition across the school district.
"The presence of the [private] providers in the district . . . created a sense of urgency and a friendly, healthy competitive environment that was good for all of the schools," he said. "If you take that away all you have left is a monolithic district-wide approach to reform; you'll have exactly what Philadelphia had prior to 2002."
SRC Chairman James Nevels yesterday spoke highly of the private school manager model.
"I believe that it was important as part of the most robust reform in this country's history that competition and choice be offered to our children," he said.