Edison Schools, Inc. a success in PerryJack Miller painted a scathing picture of Edison Schools, Inc. in his June 9 article entitled “Christel House Hires Edison” (First Person). Included in his rather blatant attempt to discredit anything or anyone affiliated with Edison, his depiction of Perry Township’s partnership with Edison is described in a manner that might best be described as caustic. Much of the article goes after Chris Whittle and his economic “antics.” I really don’t much care about any of that. Public company, private company, Jeb Bush’s involvement or lack thereof — not our concern.
“I believe that if partnerships with private entities can enhance opportunities for our students, but we then fail to consider such possibilities, we’d be the antiquated dinosaurs so many enemies of public education depict us to be.” — H. Douglas Williams, Perry Township superintendent of schoolsWe entered into the partnership with Edison and the Perry Education Association because we believed (as did our union leadership) that the instructional model was sound and because we could not replicate such a model without the partnership.
I am more pro-public schools (the nation’s most successful institution) and anti-educational vouchers (a threat to our very democracy) than Mr. Miller could ever hope to be. But I believe that if partnerships with private entities can enhance opportunities for our students, but we then fail to consider such possibilities, we’d be the antiquated dinosaurs so many enemies of public education depict us to be.
Though provided the information by our associate superintendent, Mr. Miller failed to relate that parent satisfaction is evidenced by student waiting lists for entry into every grade level in both of our Edison schools. And his stilted depiction of test scores was clearly refuted by our recently received 2003 ISTEP+ results at Jeremiah Gray-Edison Elementary. Because the school has completed its second year, we can compare ISEP+ results there. In language arts and mathematics, students experienced significant growth.
Because Rosa Parks-Edison has just completed its first year, ISTEP+ results are irrelevant since students had only been enrolled in the school for a month before the test was administered. But in an attempt to identify student progress in 2003-2004, the Terra Nova Examination was administered in the fall and in the spring. The results were nothing short of remarkable.
If students progress at an average rate nationally on the Terra Nova, median national percentile scores remain the same, fall to spring. At Rosa Parks-Edison, growth was 17.4 in language arts, and 12.0 in mathematics and significant growth occurred in science and social studies as well. One noted national researcher commented that he has never before encountered such improvement in one year.
Student achievement at our Edison schools can only be described as extremely impressive. So if you want to go after Edison Schools, Inc., Mr. Miller, you’d be ill advised to identify Perry Township’s partnership as ammunition.
As for Christel DeHaan’s decision to partner with Edison, I applaud her wisdom. Many think that the school business is easy, thus the failure of so many charter schools nationwide. By partnering with Edison, the Christel House has enhanced the opportunity for overall success of the school, and for strong student achievement.
Edison’s education model is, as we have found, as good as advertised. As for Edison’s financial acumen, I know too little about such matters to speculate. For me to do so would be as irresponsible as Jack Miller’s uninformed depiction of student progress in Perry Township schools. Unlike Mr. Miller, I know my limitations.
H. Douglas Williams
Superintendent of schools
Please let me preface this critique with NUVO is great, and will continue to be great. It adds a sense of sophistication, intelligence and fun to the Indy scene. Thanks for that!
The fact that I admire NUVO so much added to my surprise when I read the recent review of one of my favorite hidden hot spots in the city — Shallo’s (Cuisine, July 7-14). There are so many problems with the story, I’ll just put it in a numbered format so that it’s easy to read (and, easy to write!).
1. First of all, you spelled the name wrong. It’s Shallo’s with an apostrophe, not Shallos. Not a big deal, but admittedly, an early annoyance for me.
2. It was mentioned that it was “deep in the heart of Greenwood.” Unless this was meant metaphorically, it’s totally inaccurate. The restaurant is not even within the actual town limits of Greenwood. It’s on the Northern outskirts and barely outside of Indy.
3. At the end of the article, it is mentioned that it is in “the largely abandoned County Line Mall.” Well, I guess that’s fair enough. HOWEVER, people that know the area know that the County Line Mall is experiencing a bit of a come-back, with the nearly recent addition of Sofa Express and Old Time Pottery as well as the recent refurbishing of the actual structure and parking lot improvements. But my guess is that the reviewer isn’t FROM the Southside and therefore just made presumptions. Now that the generic critiques are out of the way, for the food!
4. It was written that Shallo’s “might be a paradise for Harley-ridin’ beer lovers.” Really? In a strip mall? With beers from Vietnam and Holland and South Africa? OK, perhaps this bar would be attractive to the corporate weekend-warrior mid-life crisis Harley riders that go home to their house in the burbs with their 3.2 kids at the end of the night. But I couldn’t see a “real” Harley man moseying on up to the bar and saying, “Hey, dude, gimme a Warsteiner Dunkel.”
5. OK, if the author DID think it was a motorcycle bar (that would typically sustain the crowd with great pub food), then what the HECK were they thinking when they ordered two salads, filet mignon and teriyaki chicken?!! I mean, c’mon! You were setting yourself up for failure. That would be like me walking into Shanghai Lil’s and ordering chicken fingers, or me walking into Workingman’s Friend and ordering the Cottage Cheese Diet Plate, or even me walking into Oceanaire and ordering pizza. You just DON’T DO THAT. When in Rome …
6. As for the tenderloin, good choice, there. But what were they expecting the breadcrumbs to taste like? Japanese spices — perhaps the missing teriyaki? No, the bread crumbs are just a different texture. The actual name for this wonderfully versatile ingredient is Japanese Panko Bread Crumbs, and they’re used for battering all kinds of things. There’s nothing special about its flavoring, though, and therefore, it is NOT supposed to taste “particularly Japanese” as the diner assumed it might. The poor tenderloin’s chances were already down and out because of the diner’s expectations and lack of culinary knowledge!
7. Finally, why did the diners forego the “house specialty” of homemade potato chips and opt for something else? Why did the diners order a boring old baked potato (which can be the same practically anywhere!) and not something with a little more of Shallo’s character — such as the (amazing!) STUFFED baked potatoes? Again, this is another example of “when in Rome.” If you’re going to review a restaurant, you’ve got to branch out a little from the baked potato option!
I guess that’s all. I hope that the diners will try it a second time. This time, make sure they order one of the awesome burgers, homemade potato chips, the giant stuffed baked potatoes, the beer battered fish and chips or the BEST homemade French onion soup I’ve ever tried in my entire life. This is delicious homemade pub food at its best and this is where Shallo’s shines. I’m sorry that the diners weren’t able to experience that.
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