Much has been made of the (mostly by themselves) of the untested results of Achievement First schools. AF is the Charter school operator that wants to run the Mayoral Academy in Cranston. But where has the scutiny been? I will give the beat reporters in the Providence Journal credit – I think they have done a very good job laying out the issues (even though their editors are obviously biased) For example: there are a number of horror stories about students having to withstand torments at AF schools. Ordeals like this one endured by a 10 year old austitisc boy named Brandon Strong. Note the condescending note at the end from the principal: typical corporate think – blame the victim. From NYDAILYNEWS.COM
An East New York boy diagnosed with autism has gotten dozens of detentions this school year for behaviors caused by his condition, his parents say.
Brandon Strong, 10, who attends fifth grade at Achievement First East New York Middle School, has been held after school and at lunch for fidgeting, talking to himself and failing to look teachers in the eye.
The boy’s parents say his ongoing disciplinary problems at the Richmond St. charter school are out of his control – and the punishments he’s receiving are ruining his life.
“This situation at school is driving my son crazy,” said Laila Strong, 37, a small business owner. “He hates it so much he’s starting to come apart.”
The talkative kid with glasses hasn’t always had such a tough time in class. Brandon was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder when he was 3 years old, after preschool teachers noticed he had trouble sitting still. Two years later he was diagnosed with autism but he worked hard with his family to succeed in mainstream classes.
“We built a life for Brandon that worked,” said Strong, who helped the boy with his homework every afternoon and discussed the upcoming school day with him each morning while he brushed his teeth.
Strong said the routines that kept Brandon balanced in elementary school were disrupted this year when he started at middle school.
That’s when he started getting held for “not tracking,” “talking” and “not following directions” during class, according to school documents.
Two months into the school year, he started having trouble sleeping. He began to throw hysterical fits before school when he begged his mother to not send him to class.
“I kept getting in trouble for things I can’t control,” said Brandon. “It wasn’t fair.”
The Strongs don’t want to move him to another school because they say it would disrupt his life even more. “We want to Brandon to succeed in the school he’s in,” said Laila Strong.
Brendan’s parents have had several meetings with school officials over the boy’s disciplinary issues but haven’t agreed with them over how to address his behavior.
Achievement First East New York Middle School Principal David Harding said the boy and his parents have overstated his trouble in school.
“The Strong family unfortunately is not partnering with us to get Brandon into college, and I think that is more of a hindrance in his development,” said Harding