A national teachers’ union is polling the state takeover of Providence schools

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

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Happy Tuesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and it’s my birthday. Please send Gregg’s chocolate cake (not death by chocolate) to 225 Dyer St. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

The mystery of who was behind the latest poll on the state’s takeover of Providence schools – which included a question about eliminating tenure and seniority rules – has been solved.


It was the American Federation of Teachers, according to Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro.

One of the most interesting questions in the telephone survey that was conducted last week: “Suppose you heard that there was a disagreement between state Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and the Providence Teachers Union about plans for Providence schools. Just knowing that, do you think you would be more likely to agree with Commissioner Infante-Green, or with the teachers’ union?”

Respondents were also asked for their views, from very positive to very negative, on a range of ways to improve the city’s schools, including shuttering low-performing ones, ending tenure, addressing chronic absenteeism among teachers, providing extra resources and offering more professional development.

It’s not a surprise that the AFT would want to know how the public feels about Providence teachers, but it will be interesting to see whether the results lead to a change in strategy for the local union as the school year begins.

This also means AFT President Randi Weingarten, one of the most powerful labor leaders in the country, is paying attention to what’s happening in Providence. With the takeover receiving national attention — most notably in two scathing editorials from the Wall Street Journal — it’s possible Providence could become a litmus test for the Democratic candidates for president.


Weingarten is no stranger to the city. She traveled here last year at the height of a contract dispute between Mayor Jorge Elorza and Providence Teachers. She also attended a rally on the steps of City Hall in 2011 after then-Mayor Angel Taveras issued pink slips to every teacher.


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.

• What do the key stakeholders think about the state’s takeover of Providence schools and how would they improve the district? We asked six of them to write opinion pieces for the first day of school. Take some time to read these.

• One of the most powerful op-eds featured today is from Dalia Gómez de Hernández, a mother whose two adult children had difficult experiences with Providence schools. Today, her 6-year-old daughter begins her education journey in the same system.

Ed Fitzpatrick has an interesting story on the state Board of Elections’ attempt to move its headquarters to Cranston even as former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino is suing over the entire ordeal.

• There is nothing better than the start of NFL season. The Globe’s Ben Volin writes that the Patriots have plenty of questions on offense, but history suggests they’ll figure it out.


• WINNER: For best clam cakes, this one was really close between Flo’s Drive In and Iggy’s. Cara Cromwell explained Flo’s offers the “perfect ratio of clam-to-batter,” and added that they’re “crispy but not crunchy.” Meanwhile, Mark Gray said it is a “well-established fact of RI life” that Iggy’s is the only answer.


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.

• Commissioner Infante-Green, Mayor Elorza, and interim Superintendent Fran Gallo will tour DelSesto Middle School at noon. It’s one of many stops for each of them on the first day of school, but it’s the only time they’re all scheduled to be together today.

• With a new school year comes another reminder. Providence’s traffic speed cameras are running again, so make sure you slow down near schools.

Governor Gina Raimondo is scheduled to discuss the state’s efforts to lower health care costs at the Blackstone Valley Neighborhood Health Station at 10:30 a.m.

• Congratulations to WJAR, which is launching its new lifestyle show, “Studio 10,” at 12:30 p.m.

• Enjoying Rhode Map so far? Do us a favor and encourage your friends to sign up here.

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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