Wednesday, July 08, 2009

"100 percent disadvantaged and minority students" Might Be Easier

Valley Breeze:

While Cumberland's mayor was the driving force behind the school, middle-class Cumberland families were the most disappointed Tuesday evening.

Of the 58 from Cumberland who applied, 36 were left on the waiting list.

This school, that will serve Pawtucket, Central Falls, Cumberland and Lincoln, offered 19 seats for each community. Of those, about 52 percent, or 10 each, were reserved for lower income children in order to reflect the demographic of the overall community.

As it happened, just eight families applied from Lincoln and all were admitted. That town's remaining 11 seats were split among the other three communities through a system that gave Cumberland a total of 22 seats. Pawtucket and Central Falls got 23 seats each.

Central Falls had 24 apply, so just one was wait-listed. Pawtucket had 41 apply, so 18 didn't make it.

A tiny school divided between four very different towns (e.g., 3% child poverty in Cumberland, 41% in Central Falls, in 2000), managed by an external organization dependent on funding from an ambivalent state legislature. They'll probably able to pull it off through the medium term, but it'll be an adventure, and it certainly isn't a pattern I'd want to replicate. Essentially, the long-term path of Democracy Prep depends on how well it can be insulated from the demands of local democracy. The political constituency for the school in each town will be tiny and divided, with way more people bitter over losing the lottery than winning it.

In the meantime, the comment section gives you a nice introduction to inter-town, race and class politics in RI:

I am glad to SEE progress on the education front. I am however disappointed in the continual setback for the hardworking middle class in our state and country as a whole. If you are white and live paycheck to paycheck and fulfill your responsibilities you are already at a disadvantage. I just wish my daughter had an EQUAL chance to take part in this great educational effort. Maybe some day.
I wonder how many "illegal" aliens were the lucky few to have their names pulled?
I agree Scott - We are middle class, just above the level that was set to be considered in the "disadvantaged" pool. We got there the other nigh thinking we had a shot at 19 spots, when in reality, we had little shot at all, since 10 spots were already set aside for those in the disadvantaged pool, and then the rest of the applicants were added to those who didn't get chosen from the 10. We're wait-listed, and not holding our breath.
Thanks Mayor McKee for sucking more local and state tax dollars out for a school system that most of us who live in Cumberland will never have a chance of getting into. If you put as much time into bettering our own school system then maybe it would not be so bad. And by the way how does Mr. Michael Magee, who I am sure is being paid good money, qualify for being disadvantaged? Must have been that lucky ball!!
Why does this new school not serve Woonsocket, instead of another charter school serving Pawtucket and Central Falls? I would love the opportunity to put my daughter in a school where the focus is on results but the only 2 elementary charter schools are in Pawtucket and Providence. They save a select few spots for children from other communites across the state. Mayor Menard needs to get on board!

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