June 20, 2019

To Governor Raimondo, Mayor Elorza, Commissioner Infante-Green, Superintendent Maher, Senate President Ruggerio, Speaker Mattiello, President of the School Board and President of the City Council:

Today is the last day of school for thousands of excited students and teachers in Providence who are wrapping up a year filled with all the typical moments of frustration and joy, as well as some unusual and significant challenges.  As kids and families head into the pleasures of summer in Rhode Island, there is major work to be done ensuring that next year, we do better for them.

We are parents, caregivers, community members and advocates deeply invested in bringing about significant, positive change in Providence public schools. While we anxiously await next week's release of the review of Providence Schools and subsequent recommendations, we believe it’s important to lay out our expectations for what comes next.

Like Governor Raimondo, Mayor Elorza and Commissioner Infante-Green, who called for this review, we see a critical need for action. The schools our kids get fall heartbreakingly short of the schools they deserve. September will arrive sooner than expected and we cannot allow another year to pass with the status quo. Families’ frustration, disappointment and anxiety are running high, but their hopes for their kids are even higher.

In tackling this challenge, we are eager to partner with anyone who is prepared to work collaboratively, respectfully and thoughtfully. It is clear to us that no substantial or lasting improvement is possible without a true partnership among elected officials both local and state, education leaders at all levels from the Commissioner to the classroom teacher, community partners, and families.

We believe that to be successful and earn families’ support, the actions that come in response to the review must:

This requires an investment of resources - time, people, and money - well beyond what’s been put forth in the past. Right now, parents in Providence feel a profound lack of respect from and trust in our public education institutions. Rebuilding that trust will require inclusion, as described above, as well as intentional, culturally and linguistically appropriate, frequent communication and outreach about the work that’s being done and a voice in decisions being made.

 

We fully recognize that we’ve laid out a monumental task for all of us, but it would be wrong to suggest our children deserve any less. For them, we are prepared to do our part, from our respective roles, to take on the difficult work ahead.

Contacts:

PLEE

info@pleeri.org

Pleeri.org

@PLEERI

ProvParents

info@provparents.org

Provparents.org

@ProvParents

RI Center for Justice

jwood@centerforjustice.org

centerforjustice.org

@JusticeCenterRI

CYCLE

cycle@rwu.edu

cycle-rwu.org

@CYCLE_RWU

Equity Institute

(home of EduLeaders of Color RI)

kvigil@eduleadersofcolor.org

theequityinstitute.org

@equityinst

Latino Policy Institute

mbetancur@rwu.edu

rwu.edu/life-at-rwu/rwu-community/lpi

@LPIRWU