Vote scheduled on Achievement First
The State Board of Regents is finally planning to vote on Achievement First, the group hoping to open a series of charter schools in Cranston. But the outcome of Thursday’s meeting may not settle the Achievement First question once and for all.
An agenda posted yesterday calls for the board to grant preliminary approval to the proposal to allow further planning. The actual opening of the schools for the 2012-2013 school year would still be subject to final approval by the Regents.
Achievement First has been lionized by education reformers, who tout the organization’s record of nearly closing the achievement gap at its flagship school in New Haven, Connecticut.
Efforts to bring the group to Rhode Island have been controversial with some parents, however, who question how a district that has been ending popular programs can afford to open new schools. Providence parents, whose students could also enroll at the proposed schools, have raised concerns of their own following the much-protested closure of several city schools earlier this year.
Achievement First has also raised the ire of teachers and other union members because their schools would be “mayoral academies,” a special class of charter schools that are exempt from prevailing wage laws and state pension contributions.