PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 100 teachers marched the streets of Providence Monday afternoon to demand the state end its takeover of the capital city’s school district.

The state took control of Providence Public Schools in 2019, and Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro argues nothing has changed since then.

“It’s stunning that things are worse, not better,” Calabro said. “If state leaders say otherwise, they’re not being honest.”

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“The state takeover has been a bait and switch,” she continued. “Our kids got nothing but broken promises. We need to end this state takeover now so we can move forward with an experienced leadership team willing to work collaboratively on the Turnaround Action Plan to improve our schools. Our kids can’t wait any longer.”

R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green is now extending the state takeover by two more years, to at least 2027. Infante-Green said the pandemic made it difficult for the state to meet the goals set in the first two years of the turnaround plan.

But while Infante-Green is seeking a COVID reprieve, Calabro argues the commissioner wasn’t willing to give students and teachers a pass from standardized tests last year.

“Sorry, but she doesn’t deserve a pass,” Calabro said. “She and her team did a terrible job during those two years by refusing to work with educators, parents and students on actionable, sustainable changes in all aspects of the district to support the [Turnaround Action Plan],” Calabro said.

The union also pointed to the large exodus of teachers from the school district as part of their impetus to protest.

According to School Department data, a total of 114 teachers have resigned or retired this academic year so far.

As teachers picketed outside the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) Monday, Infante-Green was in Washington, D.C. presenting the state’s “Blueprint for Multilingual Learners Success” to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

In response to the picket, a spokesperson for RIDE said Providence Public Schools leadership has met several times with the union since the start of the school year to discuss the turnaround plan and “ensure collaboration and an open line of communication.”

The spokesperson also said RIDE and the district, “remain committed to addressing the systemic issues that have plagued Providence Public Schools for over 30 years.”