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Board again puts off vote on Achievement First

July 5, 2011

Don’t expect a vote this week from the state Board of Education on a charter school proposal that has raised controversy in Providence and Cranston. Members of the board will discuss the application from Achievement First but have not scheduled a vote.

Some teachers and parents have questioned the plan, which calls for two elementary schools initially, then envisions adding a pair of middle schools and a high school over a period of several years. That would sap state funding from existing public schools, according to critics, who say Cranston and Providence are already struggling to maintain public school programs.

State education officials say Achievement First, the group seeking the charter, has proved that it can significantly reduce achievement gaps for low income and minority students in Connecticut. They are recommending that the board approve the group’s bid to open schools in Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, the board is scheduled to vote on a proposal for a nursing-themed charter high school in Providence. The Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College Charter School would serve students state-wide with an interest in nursing health care careers, who will be able to taking nursing classes while they are still in high school. Department of Education officials have recommended that the school be allowed to open.

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