NEW: Councilman Pulls Support for Achievement First
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Providence City Councilman Davian Sanchez has pulled his support for the charter school company hoping to open a school in the city in 2013.
In a letter submitted Governor Lincoln Chafee and the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, Sanchez officially retracted his support for the Achievement First, which is applying to open a set of Mayoral Academies over the next several years.
“Last month, I publicly announced my opposition to the Achievement First schools proposed for Providence,” said Sanchez. “I was surprised to learn that Achievement First included an outdated letter from me without my knowledge in its new application to the Rhode Island Department of Education.”
In reviewing Achievement First’s record with English Language Learners (ELLs) in NY and CT, the Councilman found troubling information, most notably the charter operator’s lack of ELL programming in New York, persistent under-enrollment of ELL students, and its use of an immersion model to teach this high need population.
Sanchez, the youngest Dominican-American elected official in the United States, was an ELL student as a child.
“If Mary Fogarty Elementary School had treated me like a special education student as Achievement First has done to students in New York, or worse, didn’t give me the support of bilingual ELL programming, who knows what obstacles I might still be fighting today,” said Sanchez. “It’s clear that Achievement First has been ineffective in serving ELL students – this is a critical population that makes up 20 percent of the students in Providence public schools.”
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