Don’t forget: The state dropped the ball with Providence schools, too
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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m already pumped for SummerSlam to come to Boston next year. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
If the Johns Hopkins University report on Providence schools served as a scathing indictment of generations of city leaders, it’s worth asking: Where were state officials for the last 25 years?
The answer, as Thursday’s order urging a state takeover of the city’s schools clearly shows, is the state Department of Education wasn’t prepared to help either.
The 122-page order from Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green goes into painstaking detail to make the case that the state went out of its way to provide “progressive support of, and intervention in” Providence schools, offering technical assistance, policy support, resource oversight, and support for the district’s attempt to build outside partnerships.
But the truth is more complicated. While the state has ramped up financial support for Providence over the last decade as part of an attempt to make up for years of underfunding the system, the actual day-to-day support for the district has been spotty at best.
Sure, after a year of poor test scores, you might have heard an ambitious state education board member demand change in Providence. Or after a federal agency audited the district, the state might have paid attention to English learners or special needs students for a minute. But Providence always has landed on the back burner when it comes to state education priorities.
So will this time be different?
Infante-Green’s willingness to take full ownership of the district is a departure from past practices. Now the state is seeking to drive the car rather than offer direction from the backseat.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Infante-Green reiterated that she intends to have her own superintendent in place by November. She also acknowledged for the first time that she believes she has the authority to break existing district contacts, although she stopped short of explaining if she’ll actually take that action.
Don’t expect too much objection from anyone on the city side. Mayor Jorge Elorza’s message to the state also is clear: We can’t get the job done — Now you try.
NEED TO KNOW
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.
• It’s not every day that you see a local newspaper use an editorial to apologize to readers for not covering a story, but the Bristol Phoenix included itself among those who deserve blame for failing to take a closer look at a prominent community figure who is now accused of sexual misconduct with three local boys. Amanda Milkovits has the story.
• More from Amanda: Thirty-three Woonsocket residents with out-of-state license plates on their vehicles are getting letters this week from this city’s tax assessor and citations from the police as part of a broader crackdown by Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.
• Ed Fitzpatrick reports Jump Bikes is lowering its rental prices following a public outcry last month.
• Make sure you take the time to appreciate Tom Brady this year because the Globe’s Christopher L. Gasper argues this could be his final season in New England.
• QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What’s the best place to get pizza in Rhode Island? I say the answer is to drive to New Haven, pick up Modern Apizza, and then drive to Westerly to eat it. But e-mail me at Dan.McGowan@globe.com and I’ll share your answers next week.
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
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.
• The ribbon is finally being cut on the Providence pedestrian bridge this morning. Take a second to read Ed’s story about the $22 million project from June.
• US Senator Jack Reed will be among the officials attending a 6 p.m. vigil at Dexter Field on Cranston Street in Providence to honor those who were killed or injured in two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio last weekend.
• This is cool: The Extraordinary Rendition Band will hold its 10th birthday party at Fete on Saturday night.
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