by Michael Magee
Education Next
January 24, 2014
Education Next
In 2007, the case could be made that Rhode Island had, dollar for dollar, the worst-performing public education system in the United States. Despite per-pupil expenditures ranking in the top 10 nationally, the state’s 8th graders fared no better than 40th in reading and 33rd in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. In the spring of that year, Cumberland mayor Daniel J. McKee posed a question: “What kind of public school system would we have if we could just build it from scratch?” The answer to the mayor’s question turned out to be “mayoral academies,” highly autonomous, socioeconomically diverse, regional public schools of choice governed by mayor-led boards.

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