Teaching kids is tough work. Achievement First seems to have found a short cut through the hard stuff though – Here is another story about their track record on New York City from NYDAILYNEWS.COM:
She has served detention for slouching, humming and failing to look her teachers in the eye.
It’s no surprise that former honors student Gianna Boone hates going to Achievement First Crown Heights Middle School.
The East New York Ave. charter school’s strict rules have landed the 13-year-old girl in detention nearly every day this year. And her grades have dropped from an A average to a C.
“I get into trouble every time I turn around,” said Gianna, an eighth-grader who has served detention at least four times every week since school began in August for humming, talking loudly in the bathroom and using a pen during math class. “It’s killing me.”
The five-year-old middle school hands out detention based on a system of demerits – which students earn for infractions such as putting their heads on their desks, not facing forward while walking in the hallway.
With every three demerits, a student must serve 45 minutes of detention.
Some behaviors are considered so bad – rolling their eyes, sucking their teeth or complaining after getting a demerit – students get an immediate 45-minute detention for committing them.
On an average day, one in six kids – about 50 – in the 300-student school stays after class, Achievement First officials said.
“We have high expectations, and we’re really confident that what we’re doing is in the students’ best interests,” said Principal Wells Blanchard, who instituted the policies when he took over the school this year.
Charter school advocates say the strict rules maintain order for kids.
But a group of parents with children at Achievement First Crown Heights say the rules are overkill. More than 20 of them met last week at the Crown Heights public library to discuss protesting the policies.
The group agreed to speak out at the school’s next board meeting Nov. 22.
“I understand that schools need to have rules, but this is like Rikers Island,” said Sarah Dickens, who said she will be at the board meeting to protest her fifth-grade son’s daily detention for things like dropping a pen and failing to address a teacher as “ma’am.”
“They’ve gone too far,” Dickens said.
Education experts say charter schools with tough rules are a growing trend.
“These schools may seem extreme, but the idea is to create an optimal learning environment,” said Chris Wynne, co-author of “Inside Urban Charter Schools.”
“If you don’t address small problems, things can spiral out of control,” said Wynne.
The Crown Heights school is part of Achievement First, a charter school network with 10 schools in Brooklyn.
In February, an Achievement First middle school in Bedford-Stuyvesant made headlines for its strict rules.
About 20% of Achievement First Endeavor Charter School’s students served detention on any given day, and in the first half of the school year, one in 12 students transferred out.
The Crown Heights parents say they are also considering taking their youngsters out of the middle school.
“The school’s worse than a prison,” said Gianna’s mother, who said she blames her chest pains on her daughter’s troubles at school. “The situation has to change.”