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Is Providence about to get an elected school board?

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten floated the idea during her visit to the city on Wednesday

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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I stayed up too late watching Steph Curry and LeBron. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to

ICYMI: There was no COVID-19 data update available on Wednesday, so Rhode Island was at 150,737 confirmed coronavirus cases as of May 18. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,703 residents had died. There were 77 people in the hospital, and 514,975 residents were fully vaccinated.


It sure sounds like Providence is going to take a long look at moving to an elected school board.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten floated the idea during her visit to the city on Wednesday, and two elected officials didn’t waste any time announcing their own ideas.

City Councilman David Salvatore, a Democrat who is term-limited next year, said he thinks some version of an elected school board should be put to city voters. He said the city’s Charter Review Commission could vet the plan and place it on the ballot next year.

”A hybrid elected and appointed school board is one option to consider, but the most important thing we must do is have public discussions that are research- and data-informed to determine the best governance approach to rebuild trust, advance student success, ensure a rigorous hiring and training process, and strengthen fiscal accountability,” Salvatore said.

State Senator Maryellen Goodwin, a Providence Democrat, said she will introduce legislation requiring that any community with four-year election cycles also have an elected school board.

Providence currently has a mayor-appointed board, and members are confirmed by the City Council. The board has very little power right now because the state controls Providence schools, but it continues to meet. In fact, it took a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Harrison Peters last night.


There are potential risks to an elected school board. It only adds to the politics of education, and special interests can gain even more influence. Imagine how much money both the Providence Teachers Union and the charter school networks would spend trying to win school board seats.

There’s also important equity issues to consider. If you create an at-large school board in the city, there’s always the risk that the majority of the seats would be occupied by wealthy residents from the East Side.

On the flip side, a mayor-appointed school board can be just as political, and only the mayor can hold members accountable.


⚓ My latest column: How can the state salvage the Providence schools takeover? By taking a deep breath and doing nothing for now. Read more.

⚓ It won’t be long before Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters is out of his job. Here’s how we got to this point. Read more.

⚓ After 90 years of serving kids in crisis, COVID-19 presents new pediatric mental health challenges for Bradley Hospital. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Island’s only independently operated health system has announced projects that will help it expand into other parts of the state. Read more.



Politics: My colleague James Pindell explains why former president Donald Trump still matters in national politics. Read more.

Editorial: The Globe’s editorial board backs takeout cocktails. Read more.

Entertainment: If you haven’t yet attended a live music event since the beginning of the pandemic, Jon Garelick explains what it’s like. Read more.

Sports: Here come those Bruins. Read more.

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⚓ Governor Dan McKee will sign legislation increasing the state’s minimum wage at 10:30 a.m. at the State House.⚓ Governor McKee will hold his weekly COVID-19 press conference at 1 p.m.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.