Thursday, September 01, 2011

One Small Step Against Corporate School Reform; One Giant Leap Against Small State Stupidity

Since the spring I hope you've come to see Rhode Island's Own Mayoral Academy Concept as about three layers of stupidity, provincialism, and small-time politicking on top of everything you hate about contemporary school reform. It was the stupid that made me fight, and that made it clear that we could win this round, and today we did.

If AFMA itself had gone through, it would have been bad in itself, but the worst part would have been establishing a precedent for how mayoral academies would be established in the future, and it would have emboldened RIMA and RIDE to charge forward as fast as possible, building a baroquely unstable network of overlapping fiefdoms.

So while the war is not over, the blitzkrieg has been halted, and we've dug into some good defensive terrain.

It is a win. A clean one, and it changes the terms of the fight going forward, so be happy.

Having said that, now let's look ahead to the next step...

Chafee's letter (which appears to be an image pdf here, so I can't copy/paste) calls for exploring a different Providence-based multi-district mayoral academy with Achievement First. A few things to remember: a mayoral academy must be made up of students from more than one district, including urban and non-urban districts, with the student body made up of equal numbers from each district. This isn't an easy coalition to put together, particularly around a school model exclusively aimed at urban schools, based in a city. Particularly now that people in the suburbs are on alert to the sheer implausibility of it all.

There is a reason they tried to sneak AFMA through. The RI reform community have saddled themselves with the most unfriendly "charter friendly" law in the country. Pass the popcorn.

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