Educational entrepreneur Chris Whittle, former
head of Edison Schools, has targeted a new consumer base. While Edison Schools
sought to run outsourced district and charter schools, this new Whittle
venture—Avenues: The World School—aspires to build a network of twenty elite
private schools with similar curricula in places like London and Shanghai.
Whittle has reportedly raised $75 million from two private equity firms; recruited
over 1,200 applicants for Avenues’s first campus in lower Manhattan; and
brought on board some big names in elite education (the school’s co-leaders ran
Exeter and Hotchkiss). And this all before the school can boast a completed
building or curriculum. (It’s slated to open for the 2012-13 year with full-freight
tuition in the $40,000 range.) Whittle hasn’t always succeeded in the past with
exceptionally ambitious plans, but if this model prospers and delivers results,
it could revolutionize the way itinerant upscale families—or those interested
in a cosmopolitan education—interact with schooling.
Best School $75 Million Can Buy,” by Jenny Anderson, New York Times,
July 8, 2011.