Following the release of a highly critical report on Providence Public Schools, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza attended a series of public forums across the city. The message was clear: The current school system has failed to provide parents with what they want for their children’s education.
With support from the governor and the mayor, the commissioner has begun the process of running the city’s school system for at least the next three years. Now parents and other stakeholders want to know: By June 2022, will Providence schools become the first choice for an overwhelming majority of families across all zip codes and diverse communities in the city, as opposed to charter schools or private schools? And will today’s parental demand accelerate the supply of high-quality services that lead to significant school improvement?
The success of the commissioner’s takeover plan depends on the collective will of all stakeholders. Political and organizational restrictions need to be removed. This is the time for leaders to use their political capital to transform our city schools.