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Gist ‘confident’ mayoral academy will move forward

June 16, 2011

Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is speaking out in support of Achievement First, the charter management organization whose application to enter Rhode Island has been the subject of controversy.

Gist says her staff recruited the company for the Ocean State.

“We wanted them to apply,” Gist said, pointing to a record of stellar test scores at the group’s Connecticut schools. “We sought them out, and they are a school that we would be very fortunate to have in our state.”

The state board that oversees elementary and secondary schools will discuss but not vote on Achievement First today. Gist says she sees no reason why the application for two elementary schools in Cranston should not ultimately win approval.

“I’m confident that when the Regents see the quality of this proposal, they will move this forward,” Gist said.

Some parents and teachers have spoken out against Achievement First, saying it will draw students and state education funding away from district public schools.

Achievement First has proposed two elementary schools to serve Providence and Cranston students. The group hopes to eventually open five schools in Cranston by adding two middle schools and a high school over a period of several years.

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