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Zone firm's history should be examined;Letter

Why is the TES not taking a more critical look at the Government's apparent go-ahead for the American-based Edison project to run schools in our new education action zones ("US firm bids for school control", TES, May 15)?

The Edison Project's history is controversial to say the least. In return for the licence to run schools for profit in some American cities Edison also won the right to beam adverts for junk food and fizzy drinks into the classroom.

I understand that Chris Whittle, head of the Edison Project, has since sold his advertising channel for schools. But the commercial values which underpin the Edison Project - a profit- making concern - are still presumably intact.

It is also worth noting that the Edison schools have effectively failed in the US. Rather than running 1,000 American schools, as it predicted in 1994, it currently manages 25, and these schools show no marked improvement in test scores or attendance.

Mary Tasker

Chair, Human Scale Education, 96 Carlingcott, Bath

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