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Achievement First renews battle for mayoral academy

October 18, 2011

Mayor Angel Taveras and charter manager Achievement First have submitted an application for two new elementary schools, starting with a Kindergarten and first grade in 2013. The charter schools would serve students from Providence, Cranston, Warwick and North Providence, but organizers say more than half the students would likely come from Providence.

That may be a tough pill for some Providence parents, who protested the closure of several neighborhood schools this year due to budget cuts. State officials rejected a similar proposal from Achievement First in Cranston, following protests from some parents, city and school officials.

In Providence, the school board backed the first Achievement First application, though some parent and teacher groups opposed it. The Providence City Clerk says Councilor Bryan Principe plans to introduce a resolution Thursday calling for a fiscal impact study of the latest Achievement First proposal.

Principe has also called for the council to reject the concept of mayoral academies, a special type of charter school exempt from prevailing wage laws and state pension contributions. That resolution was referred to committee for further study.

Charter Manager Achievement First has expressed interest in building network of charter schools in Rhode Island that would eventually include middle schools and a high school. The group says for now it will focus on getting approval from state education officials for the first the two elementary schools.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2011 6:41 pm

    Did someone really tell you they expect more than half the students to come from Providence? Why? They are required by law to take an equal share from each city unless they don’t get enough applications from each. Are they anticipating this will be so unpopular that they won’t get 44 applicants a year from each of the suburbs?

    • October 20, 2011 2:42 pm

      RIMA says they are still working out the details of the admissions policy, but they do expect slightly more than half the students would come from Providence. This application does not call for an equal distribution of students from each community. Instead, RIMA estimates 50% Providence, 20% Warwick, 20% Cranston and 10% North Providence. The group says they are working on a system that gives preference to students who qualify for federal lunch subsidies. Because Providence has a large concentration of poverty, they expects so slightly exceed the 50% enrollment estimate for Providence.

  2. Charles Williams permalink
    October 18, 2011 10:34 pm

    Before people get all out of shape about charter schools, perhaps they should take a look at the Achievement First/Amistad schools in New Haven, CT. Their elementary schools, est. 2004, score almost 12 points higher than the state average on the Connecticut Mastery Test; and their middle schools, est. 1999, also score about 12 points higher than the state average. At the end of the day, we should all agree about student performance and support strategies and programs that help kids achieve and succeed.

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