S.F. School's Students Weak, Slow. This Is Progress!

Categories: Local News
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Edison Charter Academy, the San Francisco school that was supposed to launch a successful nationwide experiment in private, for-profit education, instead became a laughingstock after entrepreneur Chris Whittle's charter school empire all but collapsed amid revelations about financial improprieties and poor student performance.

Last year the school seems to have distinguished itself again, this time for producing some of the weakest, fattest, slowest, stiffest children in California. But new test results suggest the school's formerly flaccid students have bounced back, somewhat, producing 2009 fifth-graders whose physical fitness is merely below the pathetic California average -- not jaw-droppingly below.

On Nov. 30, the California Department of Education released test results indicating the state's children are slower, fatter, weaker, and, overall, more wedgie-worthy than they should be. Annual physical fitness tests showed 29 percent of state fifth graders meeting all six of the state's fitness criteria, which include a mile run, body fat measurements, and strength and flexibility tests. Statewide, the results are actually an improvement over previous years.

According to the new scores, of fifth graders at Edison Charter Academy, only 21 percent posted satisfactory results in all six criteria, lagging behind the rest of the state's out-of-shape kids. But when compared with students' results from the prior year, Edison seems to have enacted a fitness regimen of Scwarzeneggerian proportions.

In the 2007-2008 school year, only 1.8 percent of Edison Charter Academy fifth graders posted satisfactory scores in all six of the state's criteria, evoking the possibility of a school full of kids like the humans depicted in the Pixar movie Wall-E, too corpulent to walk, living in junk-food-dispensing wheelchairs.

Edison's Class of 2008 fifth graders were so out of shape that I could not find a single school in California that came anywhere close to posting such abysmal scores, despite hours spent poring over state databases.

We don't know what it was about for-profit primary education that might have caused last year's near-universal feeble-bodiedness among fifth graders. But we do offer our kudos to the one-fifth of Edison fifth-grade students who seem to have gotten into better shape.

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