Last Bell is a book about politics, money, and power. It chronicles the battle over charter schools and shows how public school officials, decision makers, and union officials fight for-profit engagement at every turn. Offering a voice of reason in the increasingly fraught debate over American public education reform, it explains the real motives behind those combating private sector involvement in public schools and depicts a future in which the best for-profit companies exist alongside excellent traditional public schools to dramatically boost performance, turn schools into centers of excellence, and give parents (even in the poorest neighborhoods) a real choice and their children a genuine hope for the future.
In the mid-nineties, the Alfred Glickman School was just another failing school in one of America's most violent cities. Then SABIS®, a private, for-profit education provider, took over. Twenty years later, the school is a six-time silver medalist in U.S. News & World Report's annual "America's Best High Schools" listing, and every single graduate of the school has been offered a college place.
With success of this magnitude, you would think that for-profit managed charter schools like SABIS would be in high demand. On the contrary, they are fought at every turn. Why is the idea of employing for-profit companies to help rescue failing public schools treated with fear and hostility? Stranger still, why does a nation built on free enterprise refuse to embrace a free market strategy when so many students and schools would clearly benefit and with so much at stake?