The Providence school report is devastating. What’s next?


Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Mayor Jorge Elorza was quick to describe the report as “accurate,” a sign, he believes, that changes need to be made. Behind the scenes, he has begun exploring what it might mean if the state took advantage of an existing law that allows for a failing school district to be “reconstituted.”

The law is vague about how much power the state has to take over a school system – especially when it comes to altering a union contract – but Elorza’s aides say giving the state more power may create leverage against the teachers.

“I’ve been very vocal that one thing that makes it very difficult is we have a very thick contract, and that’s spelled out very clearly in the report,” the second-term Democrat said. “And the legal environment, the rules of contract arbitration, are such that it’s very difficult to move from the status quo.”

Elorza attended the first public forum hosted by Infante-Green Wednesday night, but he left the state to attend a conference in Hawaii Thursday. A spokesperson for the mayor said city leaders expect to continue meeting with the commissioner in July.

But for any changes to be successful, the community needs to be front and center, researchers say.

Additional coverage.

Public forums to discuss the report.

The John’s Hopkin’s School of Education Report (PDF) Snapshots: Madison | Providence.

Madison spends $18 to 20K per student, more than Providence. Yet, we’ve long tolerated disastrous reading results.