• Education commissioner seeks control of Providence schools

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island's education commissioner said Friday that she's asking for the authority to take control of the Providence Public School District.

    Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green said she's asking the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education to grant her authority to fundamentally transform the broken district.

    Abysmal assessment results, an independent report by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and the testimony of hundreds of people at nine public forums make it crystal clear it's time for drastic action, Infante-Green added.

    The council will consider the request Tuesday.

    The Johns Hopkins report, released in June, found severe dysfunction in the district, including rampant bullying and fighting among students, crumbling facilities and a tangled bureaucracy with no clear lines of authority.

    It concluded that everyone from the school district to the teachers union to the state Department of Education is failing children.

    State law allows the education department to take control over failing schools and districts, and allows the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education to reconstitute schools within the district. That includes control over budgeting, programming and personnel.

    Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo told WPRO-AM Friday that if the state were to intervene, it would have more authority and tools to fix a system that's worse than she realized. Raimondo said the state used the law to intervene at Hope High School in Providence years ago.

    Raimondo said that though the commissioner is asking for that authority, it's not a pre-determined conclusion. Raimondo said she feels it's absolutely bad enough to warrant state intervention.

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