"We absolutely teach values," Toll says. "You have to talk about courage. You have to talk about what it takes to get there. ... We're looking for nothing less than life-changing results."
Elm City also has a middle school in the
same building, a temporary space Achieve-
ment First is renting until a permanent
home for the new charter can be found.
The growth of the organization and its suc-
cessful results - which the mayor of New
Haven says has raised the city's property val-
ues - also caught the attention ofone of
the largest, and, in some areas, most trou-
bled, public school systems in the country.
Two years ago, New York City Public
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein made Toll
and McCurry an offer they couldn't
refuse. He told them he wanted to make
New York City the Silicon Valley of edu-
cation entrepreneurs, that he wanted them
to help him open great schools for his
kids. Then he asked the million-dollar
question: "What's it going to take?"
Toll and McCurry had a ready answer.
Since Amistad's opening, they had been
battling a Connecticut state charter school
law that Toll says is politically designed to
keep schools such as Amistad, which oper-
ate outside teachers' unions and their pow-
erfullobbying forces, "small and insignifi-
cant." Charter schools in Connecticut
receive only $7,500 per pupil, compared
with the $11,850 the New Haven School
District receives for each student. (Amistad
has supplemented the state's funding with
aggressive fundraising.) They also must find
and pay for their own facilities. Most
importantly for Achievement First, how-
ever, the state caps enrollment on charter
schools at 300, leaving them "inherently
hamstrung" and unable to grow.
Not responsible for typographies errors. 2006 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
CAROLIN A ALUMNIREVlEW