Charter school Beacon was targeted by Rhode Island’s Council of Education following the school’s denial of certain students based on academic accomplishments
Charter schools in the public domain are required by law to admit any student regardless of economic status, race, or their academic standing.
Beacon was found to be in violation of these regulations by denying admission to several students entrance into the ninth grade after they had failed English and maths in the eighth grade.
Beacon, which consists of an elementary, middle, and high school, acknowledged wrongdoing and immediately revised its policy for student admission requirements.
The Rhode Island Council, however, ensured the school would be kept under close watch and only renewed the school’s contract for three years as opposed to the standard five.
Mixed response to Beacon by council members and students
Students at Beacon, both current and former, as well as parents of Beacon students, praised the school as providing excellent opportunities for students to learn and develop themselves.
One former student, Brittney Esquilin, aged 22, claimed Beacon helped her through a tough period in her life with weekly counseling sessions.
Parent of a special needs child, Lori Negrotti, had nothing but positive things to say about the school’s wholehearted acceptance of her son.
Despite these appraisals, Rhode Island’s Educational Board chairwoman Barbara Cottam maintains that she remains disappointed and upset by Beacon’s denial of students based on academic performance.
Cottam went on to say that Beacon’s actions negatively impacted other charter schools’ credibility.
Rhode Island’s Education Council members are also divided on their opinion of Beacon school, some saying that a shortened renewal period is punishment enough, others arguing that the school does not deserve to remain open.