Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Mayor Taveras' School for the Poor

I wemt to the AFPMA information session today. There wasn't really a presentation, just some information and people from AF to talk to, so I got the low-down on the lottery from Ben Smith, the school's director of operations. Their plan is for the lottery to be weighted by census tract, with the lowest-income tracts getting 5 "tickets" for each applying student, the next lowest tracts get 3 "tickets" and everyone else gets one. Thus if you're applying from one neighborhood, your name goes in the bin five times, from another, only once.

This is the opposite of the original intent of the mayoral academy concept, which intended to create diverse, mixed income (and otherwise) schools. RIMA has apparently given up on replicating that model.

The law calls in one place for policies that "encourage the enrollment of a diverse student population" but in another for "special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for pupils who are identified as educationally disadvantaged and at-risk," so legally it is kind of a wash.

If one steps back though, it is remarkable we've come to this. A School for the Poor of the Cities of Providence, Warwick, Cranston, and North Providence. Finally the suburban poor have an opportunity to be bussed into the city to experience an education amid concentrated urban poverty.

I'm certainly curious to see what numbers they come up with if their current lottery system holds up. The other PVD charters are over 75% low income without any weighting or inclusion in PPSD enrollment forms.

No comments: