The people of Rhode Island need your help in encouraging Governor Chafee to take the lead in saying no to the top-down, zero-tolerance, corporate-backed take over of public education. Achievement First (AF), a Charter Management Organization (CMO) that embraces a zero-tolerance education model, is currently trying to expand into Rhode Island. AF, like other zero-tolerance CMO's, supports the use of shunning and harsh discipline to control students, hurts the development of student voice and critical thinking skills, limits parental involvement in teaching and learning, creates high levels of student and teacher attrition, serves few high need students, and drains needed financial resources from traditional public schools (see www.wecanri.net for blog postings, testimonials, and the facts about AF).
AF has also received large financial backing by national corporate education “reformers” such as the Broad Foundation ($1 million grant) to fund their expansion and lobby public officials to support their application in RI. In addition to money, the Broad Foundation has exerted its influence in RI (and across the country) through the graduates of its academy. In RI two of those influential graduates, the Providence school superintendent and RI Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist, strongly support AF’s proposal.
Fortunately, RI has a governor with a history of standing up to powerful forces with questionable claims as he did when he was the lone Republican U.S. Senator to say no to the Bush Administration and the authorization of the Iraq war. However, with the commissioner and AF’s lobbyists spinning the “truth” about AF, he needs your knowledge and encouragement to once again be an example of courage and leadership by saying no to the spread of zero-tolerance, resource siphoning, corporate-backed education "reform" through his rejection of AF's application to operate charter schools in RI.
If you've had a poor experience with an Achievement First school or similar CMO, or have seen education policies pushed through against your community’s wishes, or simply believe that the public voice is vital in public education, please sign this petition and share why you're signing with Governor Chafee.