Commentary: Chris Whittle's New Ipo Deserves A D

Chris Whittle's ambitious quest to make money running public schools should be about to pay off. After all, the public is clamoring for charter schools and other schemes to improve U.S. education. And the 52-year-old entrepreneur's Edison Schools Inc. has been working on such issues for a decade. But the fine print on Whittle's preliminary prospectus to issue $172.5 million worth of Edison stock--including details about executive compensation and the founder's personal finances--suggests that this deal deserves to flunk.

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