A state takeover of Providence public schools is on the horizon, and students, parents, and community members from over 15 organizations support their peers’ filing of a Motion to Intervene so they can be included in the process. How will the Rhode Island Department of Education respond?
Providence Public Schools are facing a takeover from the Rhode Island Department of Education, an unsettling prospect given that state takeovers have ended in crisis in several states in recent years. It is especially clear that state takeovers are much more likely to fail and cause harm to students when they decline to include students, parents, and other concerned constituents as a meaningful part of the decision making and accountability process.
No one has a greater stake in demanding improvements in the schools than parents and students. Our best hope for a successful turnaround starts with a clear plan that includes us from planning to implementation and beyond.
That’s why we, as parents, youth, caregivers, community members, and advocates from over 15 organizations, support our peers who have worked with the Rhode Island Center for Justice to file a legal Motion to Intervene, asking the Rhode Island Commissioner of Education to ensure that there is a formal role for parents and students in the plan for improving Providence's schools, the leaders who will implement it, and the goals, progress, and criteria for success for the plan. This is not a call to stop intervention, but merely a request to be part of it.
As this next chapter in the work to transform our Providence public schools begins, we seek the following commitments from the Rhode Island Department of Education to ensure the effort is successful:
Establish clear authority for youth, families and community members in selecting and evaluating any state- or district-appointed leadership for Providence public schools.
Establish significant, ongoing, formal roles for families, students and the community in the development and implementation of plans for intervention.
Read more about the level of communication and inclusion we expect and deserve as part of our community statement.
“There is nothing more important to me than ensuring that my daughter gets the education she needs and deserves,” said Koren Carbuccia, the mother of a second-grader. “I’m joining the hearing because I need to know that parents and students are going to be consulted about what will work best for our children’s future.”
“Providence students have been fighting for more effective, culturally responsive education for years. Now there is going to be a state intervention and we have a right to be a formal part of that,” said Paola Mejia, a senior at the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex. “We live the Providence Public Schools experience every day. We know what we need and we’ve been telling local and state leaders that for a long time. It’s not optional to include us: We have a right to be heard.”
Both the hearing on the motion to intervene and the "show cause” hearing about the Commissioner's proposed order of takeover are scheduled on September 13th, beginning at 9am at the Brown School of Professional Studies (new location), 225 Dyer Street, 5th Floor in Providence.
Alliance of RI Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE)
Center for Youth & Community Leadership in Education (CYCLE)
Coalition for a Multilingual RI
Girls Rock RI!
Latino Policy Institute
Parents Leading for Educational Equity (PLEE)
Providence Public School Advocates
Providence Student Union
Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)
RI Center for Justice
RI Urban Debate League
Youth Pride, Inc.
Youth In Action