Three key takeaways on Providence schools. A tale about battle flags. What’s next for startups?

The Providence School Department headquarters.
The Providence School Department headquarters.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and that Wimbledon final gave me all the feels yesterday. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Now what?

After eight heart-wrenching public forums where Providence students, parents, and teachers spoke their minds about the state of the city’s schools, the ball is now in the hands of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, Governor Gina Raimondo, and Mayor Jorge Elorza.


As they spend coming days crafting a strategy for improving the schools, here are three key things to keep in mind.

1. Commissioner Infante-Green is a firebrand

Not everyone has been comfortable with the commissioner’s tough talk – comparing the city to “the South Bronx in the 1980s” was probably an overreach – but her reform message appears to resonate with families. Now she needs to score a few quick wins before school starts to prove she can deliver and keep momentum as she seeks to make broader changes in the district.

2. Don’t forget about kids

People tend to use public meetings to point fingers or deliver their resumes, but the most pointed comments in every session came from parents offering a glimpse of reality. On Saturday, a mother told a room of 200 strangers that her fifth grader doesn’t know her multiplication tables. Test scores back up the anecdotal evidence offered in each forum. As officials build a long-term plan, they need to ensure they aren’t writing off the children who are currently enrolled in city schools.


3. Fixing things won’t be easy

Providence needs to dramatically improve test scores, absentee rates, and building conditions while also creating a pipeline for teachers of color, offering better training to all educators, and addressing the social and emotional needs of students. This is all going to cost money and require adults to change habits. While there is plenty of enthusiasm for improving schools right now, the bigger question is how folks will feel a year from now.

Did you attend one of the public meetings? Shoot me an e-mail and tell me what you thought. Dan.McGowan@globe.com.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

• All eyes are on US Representative David Cicilline as he gears up for more antitrust hearings with the world’s largest tech companies.

• A collection of 80 historic Rhode Island battle flags are stuck in a Massachusetts storage facility with no timeline for when they’ll be returned to the state. Amanda Milkovits tells the tale of a years-long effort to preserve the collection.

• Does Providence have what it takes to be New England’s second city for startups?

• This is cool. The producers of the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival are helping pay for music education at Claiborne Pell Elementary School, Thompson Middle School, and Rogers High School.


• Thank you to everyone who responded to my inquiry about the best beach in Rhode Island. The most votes went to East Matunuck, which reader Steve Jacques described as pristine, convenient to get to, and home to the best waves.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

• Wing Chau will be sworn in as the new US Marshal for Rhode Island at a ceremony this morning at the federal courthouse.

• US Senator Jack Reed and Governor Raimondo will unveil a new workforce initiative through Real Jobs Rhode Island at the State House at 11 a.m.

• The Providence External Review Agency is expected to name a new chairperson tonight following the surprise resignation of Alison Eichler.

• The Newport Dance Festival continues all week.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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