It may not be at the top of Tuesday’s agenda, but the opening of another Achievement First Hartford Academy is on the list of items for discussion at the Board of Education meeting.
An online petition has been circulating opposing this development. So far, a few hundred individuals have signed in opposition.
For some, the issue with Achievement First is how the charter school has managed discipline. The Achievement First charter schools are leaders in Connecticut for highest percentage of students suspended or expelled, with 49.4% of Achievement First Hartford middle school students receiving at least one suspension (or expulsion), and 32.5% of Achievement First Hartford elementary students — grades preschool through fifth — receiving at least one suspension (or expulsion). Removing a child from the formal learning environment for small infractions, at minimum, disrupts that student’s academic progress.
For others, the issue with Achievement First is that an increasing number of public schools are being handed over to be managed by charter schools. When schools are closed, reconfigured, and then re-opened the process causes disruption. As Diane Ravitch points out, children need continuity. Charter schools are quick to call themselves “public charters,” but move away from the public school philosophy all too often with exclusionary policies.
It’s unclear if a public school would be closed and have this Achievement First school opened in its place, if approved by the Board of Education, or if this would be created in a new location. There is speculation that Burns or M.D. Fox would be next in line for closure.
Tuesday’s (27 August 2013( Board of Ed agenda also includes appointing a Principal at SAND, approving the Memorandum of Understanding for Great Path Academy, and more. The meeting will be held at Bulkeley High School, 300 Wethersfield Avenue. It begins at 5:30. The public comment period is early in the meeting, so get there on time if you plan to speak.