PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 300 parents, students and those in the education field came together for a day-long summit at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.
The event was convened by the Rhode Island Foundation, which said the goal is to bring world-class education to Rhode Island.
“Do whatever it takes for our kids to improve our schools for everybody,” Gov. Gina Raimondo told the crowd Saturday. She said the state knows what needs to be done to achieve success. “It’s high standards, good curriculum, fair assessments, teacher development. Principals who have autonomy to run the school they are in, and in a lot of cases, new schools.”
It’s also about the implementation of those ideas, which the governor says started with the hiring of the new education commissioner.
“We have to figure out how we stay the course, because what I think a lot is happening in Rhode Island is that we move from one thing to the next,” Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Greene said.
The commissioner says she thinks the state as a whole is ready to tackle the problem.
“One step at a time. It’s taken a long time to get here and I think that there was a sense of complacency and no longer,” she said. “I know a lot of times we are talking about Providence — it’s not just about Providence. This is about the entire state of Rhode Island.”
Participants in the summit worked with a set of strategies developed by the Long-term Education Planning Committee, a 26-member group convened by the foundation last year, to come up with recommendations.
“We already have that framework of the plan,” said Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. “In early January we will be releasing this 10-year plan — the framework of it, the vision, add the strategies. Then we will marry that with a lot of the ideas we heard here today.”
Commissioner Infante-Green says while the state often compares its education system to Massachusetts, her 10-year goal is to surpass the Bay State in education.