More charters approved despite disdain

In front of a very vocal and crowded audience, the School Reform Commission unanimously voted yesterday to turn six struggling schools over to three charter operators as part of the Renaissance Schools Initiative.

Aimed at turning around the district’s worst performing schools, the approval also means that 10 schools will become promise academies with district management and that Vare Middle School and Audenried High will be run by Universal Companies under the federal Promise Neighborhoods Initiative starting next fall. Most of the schools will have longer work days for teachers, some Saturday classes and mandatory summer school. Teachers at the charters must also re-apply for their jobs.

Teachers and some state officials voiced opposition to converting district schools to charters.

“I don’t think it’s been inclusive,” said state Rep. Dwight Evans, whose district includes Martin Luther King High which will be run by Mosaic Turnaround Partners.

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman said there is no time to waste.

“We have no other choice. We can’t wait. The kids can’t wait,” she said.

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