One evening in late March, the entrepreneur H. Christopher Whittle found himself in a large conference room in Renda Fuzhong, an elite Chinese academy in Beijing’s Haidian district, rattling off his pitch for Avenues, the bilingual for-profit New York preparatory school set to open in September in a former warehouse building on 10th Avenue in Chelsea.
Listening intently to the presentation were 20 Renda ninth-graders who were already committed to Avenues in the fall and about 100 parents and grandparents. Mr. Whittle explained that a decade hence, Avenues: the World School would comprise an international network of 20 academies, serving K through 12, spanning the globe from Doha to Moscow, and Mexico City to Johannesburg. Every student in the network will have an “automatic transfer right” to any other school—whether to expand his or her own educational horizons or due to the globe-trotting habits of their parents. (In that sense, it’s a little like a pedagogic timeshare, offering an array of comfortable home bases to the next generation of rootless cosmopolitans.) He talked about the intense competition for Ivy League spots, and how it would only get worse. And he talked about the spectacular new facility taking shape beside the High Line. Read More