Mark Santow is Associate Professor and Chair of the History Department at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where he teaches classes on U.S. political history, cities, race relations, social policy, and foreign policy. He also serves as Academic Director of the Clemente Course in the Humanities in New Bedford MA, which offers humanities classes to low-income adults for college credit. The co-author of Social Security and the Middle Class Squeeze (2005) and a forthcoming volume on Saul Alinsky and racial segregation, Santow is presently writing a book on home ownership. He blogs at

3 responses to “3 reasons to oppose Achievement First expansion”

  1. cailin rua

    Although, I said I was glad Bob Plain did not “do a Dan McGowan” I have to acknowledge what a good reporter McGowan is while always keeping in mind he’s an operative for a commercial news organization in the pocket of its advertisers. On McGowan’s Facebook page this comment caught my eye. It’s truncated somewhat:

    “”Jeremy Giller On pages 36 – 42 of the Commissioner’s recommendation memo is the report on “fiscal impact measures” submitted by Brown’s Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (a privately funded and managed entity running policy analyses for the Governor). . . .

    “”Notably, RIIPL submitted its report to RIDE on November 22, nine days before the conclusion of the 60-day public comment period. It was RIDE’s decision to deploy RIIPL’s findings and methodology as a deus ex machina on Day 61, the day *after* the public comment period had concluded. To quote Councilman Zurier, . . .

    “The decision to ‘sandbag’ the Council and the stakeholders within the Providence Public Schools with a ‘mystery model’ is, at a minimum, inconsistent with the spirit of the State law. It also causes severe and unnecessary damage to any sense of comity and collaboration among Achievement First, RIDE, the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, the Providence Public Schools and the City of Providence, which will ultimately harm the students we all should be working together to serve.””

    I believe the public policy centers at Brown funded by the Kochs, Alfred Taubman, Walter Annenberg’s estate, etc. are huge problems for the Rhode Islanders colonized by this kind of public policy making but this latest think tank, the RIPL, funded by Enron’s John Arnold, is an incredible affront.

    Yes I had two kids in the Providence School system. I’ve been through the mill with it. I could write a book about my experiences and observations. I also know people from minority backgrounds who have opted for charters. I understand why. I can’t blame them for narrowly focusing on their own children but in the long term privatizing schools will harm students overall. We don’t have very much responsible leadership. Brown University sets a horrible example. The people running the think tanks there should know better. They obviously care about their own careers and comfort more than anything.

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  2. The optics, politics and nuance of Achievement First expansion

    […] Providence School Board member Mark Santow, whose own children attended a local charter school, opposes the expansion. Read his written remarks to RIDE here. […]

  3. Achievement First expansion could be decided tonight

    […] School Board member Mark Santow articulated a common refrain about charter school funding in Rhode Island – that they necessarily pull resources away from the vast majority of public […]

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