Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meetings and hearings on Achievement First's application to open Mayor Academies in Providence

Regular Providence Schools and Beyond readers will know that for much of 2011, citizens of Providence, Cranston, and other municipalities have been debating the merits and detriments of a proposal from charter management organization Achievement First to open two Mayoral Academies in the coming years to serve K-12 students. Following the Rhode Island Board of Regents’ rejection of a version of the proposal to open the schools in Cranston to serve students in grades K-12 from Cranston and Providence, Achievement First resubmitted the charter application with a view to open the schools in Providence in 2013 and 2014 to serve students not only from Providence and Cranston but also (name other surrounding towns). That proposal is front and center in Providence this week.

Yesterday, a coalition of Providence neighborhood associations, parent organizations, student organizing groups, private-sector unions, community organizing groups, and public officials (including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, of which I am a member) announced its opposition to the establishment of a network of Achievement First Mayoral Academies in Providence. The coalition held a rally and press conference at the State House and delivered a letter to the Governor expressing its concern about and lack of interest in the prospect of Achievement First’s establishment of the Mayoral Academies in Providence. Click here to view the letter on Google Docs. The group used Facebook to organize - if you want to join in, go here: http://www.facebook.com/events/245049805555073/. The Brown Daily Herald covered yesterday's protest nicely here.

More Achievement First news, this from Councilman Sam Zurier’s Ward 2 email newsletter: tonight (Tuesday, November 29) at 5:00pm, the Providence City Council’s Education Subcommittee will hear a presentation from representatives of Achievement First, which has applied to operate a mayoral academy charter school in Providence.  Members of the City Council will ask questions, including questions submitted from the public. Councilman Zurier did not say this, but I would guess that you cannot be there, as I cannot due to work obligations, he may accept questions via email or phone calls.  The hearing will take place in Providence City Hall, 25 Dorrance Street.

Next week, on Tuesday, December 6, the Providence City Council Education Subcommittee will hear the School Department’s projection of the financial impact of the new charter school if it is approved.  I’ll share the time when it’s announced.

Both of these Providence City Council Education Subcommittee Meetings precede next week’s Rhode Island Board of Regents’ hearings on the proposed Achievement First Mayoral Academies. WRNI’s Education Blog reports that the hearings will take place as follows:
  • Wednesday, December 7, 6:00pm, Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School, 195 Nelson Street in Providence
  • Thursday, December 8, 6:00pm Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, 375 Adelaide Avenue in Providence
Please - whether you're avidly opposed to or in support of Achievement First--and especially if you want to know more--do what you can to learn about the financial, social, educational and other impacts these schools may have on our city. Come to the hearings and sign up for public comment - make your views known. 

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