Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Which of its Elementary Schools will North Providence Close for Taveras's Mayoral Academy?

OK, so for reasons I can't quite glean, Mayor Taveras has apparently sent RIDE an application to open a mayoral academy in Providence four months ahead of the deadline for schools opening in 2013. Perhaps a deal has been cut to rush this through ahead of the normal process, but I can't figure out how that would work to anyone's (especially the Regents') advantage. Maybe the MA advocates think a longer discussion period will help them, but even then it would make more sense to have discussions before you submit the proposal? Maybe this appeases Achievement First somehow? Is this related to upcoming announcements about persistently low performing schools in the PPSD? Who knows?

Anyhow... this is a proposal for two elementary schools with 88 in each school's kindergarten cohort, drawing from Providence, Warwick, Cranston, and North Providence. Since each district is supposed to be represented equally, unless one does not have enough applicants to fill their share, this will be a 3/4 suburban school based on an urban "no excuses" model. The proportional impact will be greatest on North Providence, just one seventh the size of the PPSD. Assuming they hold up their share of the enrollment, you're looking at 19% of their K-4 students leaving the district, a number pretty much equal to the size of one of their six neighborhood elementary schools, so one of them would have to be closed.

On the other hand, the message may shift quickly to the suburban parents not actually being interested in putting their five year olds onto a bus headed into south Providence for an extended school day, thus it won't really cost the suburbs much at all. Elisabeth Harrison:

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.

This is a trickly line of argument to take, however, since the first item required on the application is:

(a) Evidence of need and community support for the proposed public charter school;

So... more to come, to be sure.

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