RI Education Commissioner: State of Providence schools even worse than report suggests


PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — New Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green is reflecting on weeks of public discussions.

“I think the big takeaway is things are actually worse than the report indicates,” Infante-Green said Saturday morning at the last public meeting scheduled to discuss the results of a scathing Johns Hopkins University review of the Providence school system.

The eighth and last forum on the report was held Saturday morning and drew a large enough crowd that it had to be moved from its initial venue to the Robert Bailey Elementary School on Gordon Avenue.

About 200 people showed up to share their thoughts and hear about possible solutions.

“More and more stories are emerging,” Infante-Green said. “There’s a mother who has a child in seventh grade who had eleven English teachers in one year. Eleven! I’ve never heard of such a thing. That, to me, is criminal.”

The troubling report detailed violence in classrooms, crumbling buildings, inconsistent curriculums, consistently low test scores, and chronic absenteeism.

“No surprises at all,” said Tania Quezada, who worked in the district. “During the five years we saw everything that was on that report. We lived it, we felt it.”

Lt. Governor Daniel McKee attended, and called for state intervention in Providence schools. “I can tell you that our leaders have not been honest with the families,” he said.

“That’s one of the possibilities,” Infante-Green said of a potential state takeover.

She said she will release more details on the changes she plans to make at the next meeting of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education on July 23.

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