Jenny Anderson’s Times article, The Best School $75 Million Can Buy, addresses whether Edison entrepreneur Chris Whittle’s new endeavor, Avenues School, will succeed. Is Whittle merely a superb salesman or is he truly building a ground-breaking new school that will thrive in the long term?
One father wondered:
“I’m torn between, is this a school for rich, obnoxious families that couldn’t get into the established schools, or is it a fresh chance to build a dynamic and outstanding student body while the old New York schools are stuck having to admit siblings and legacies and the occasional billionaire and celebrity?” questioned one father of three who is trying to decide whether to apply. “Maybe they can start over again and build a more normal, striving New York community.”
As I see it, Avenues’ goal is to attract the global elite. Since many investment bankers and other financial professionals, as well as business executives, transfer between countries, an Avenues education, like an IB program, makes a lot of sense because you can pick up your schooling elsewhere. Clearly, since Avenues is a for-profit that needs to attract and enroll affluent families in order to build more campuses and return profits to investors, it is in the school’s interest to attract the wealthiest families possible. The best way to do this is to appear to be very competitive. Avenues is doing a great job building buzz and getting media placement in this quest.