FOUR YEARS ago, state and local education officials blocked the opening of a for-profit SABIS Educational System charter school in Brockton. Will SABIS meet the same fate this month when it tries to bring its proven educational model to Lowell or expand its presence in Springfield?
SABIS has earned the right to expand in Massachusetts. While the for-profit business model may offend some local sensibilities, SABIS students in Holyoke and Springfield consistently outperform peers from similar socioeconomic backgrounds in their home districts. More importantly, SABIS is closing the achievement gap between its mostly minority student body and white counterparts in the suburbs. In Springfield, for example, 88 percent of SABIS 10th graders scored advanced or proficient on the 2011 MCAS math exam, compared to a statewide average of 77 percent. SABIS is also coming on strong in Holyoke, where its students placed in the top 25 percent of schools statewide based on the percentage of Hispanic students who scored proficient or advanced in math in grades 7 and 8.