“Parents need choice and opportunities,” said Chace Baptista, co-founder of Young Voices, a Providence public policy advocacy group. “Show me the schools in this state where black and brown students are learning … where they are reading at grade level, where they are outperforming their white” peers.
“Gladstone Elementary School. That’s where they are successful,” Kristin Hlady, principal of the Cranston elementary school, said.
Baptista is lucky I couldn't make that meeting and wasn't following his comment, since I'd have pointed out Young Voice's refusal last year (later -- actually it is good I wasn't there because I was thinking of another youth group in particular -- although Young Voices didn't speak up then either) to speak out about the closure of Feinstein High School last year, one of the few schools in Providence that did close achievement gaps and give scores of kids a direct pipeline from south Providence to college.
But anyway, the larger point here is that indeed Cranston also has lots of schools where there is little to no achievement gap.
Bringing an Acheivement First charter to Providence would be controversial, but there would be few grounds to stop it. In any other state, AF wouldn't dream of a plan that would pull half their school out of an average suburban district. It is a waste of AF's time. It does not fit their mission. It is only because of the self-indulgent statutory requirements of the mayoral academies law that they're doing it.
I hope that behind the scenes the AF administration is furious that they let themselves get dragged into this mess.
Also, it would be nice if the ProJo would categorize this as a statewide "education" story in addition to a "Cranston" one.