As the Rhode Island stumble turns...

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7 weeks to schools opening...

As the Rhode Island stumble turns…


Rhode Island can’t seem to get out of its own way. Or maybe it’s something in the water. We have just welcomed a bright new commissioner of education, charged for battle in taking the Rhode Island (not just Providence) schools on for their failing test scores and utter disaster status as disclosed in the Johns Hopkins Report. Today we learn, as first reported in GoLocalProv, that RI Department of Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green has hired her son’s godfather as her direct-report senior advisor.


Victor Capellan has been superintendent of the Central Falls school district since 2015 and has been complimented for the job he has done. Yet, the Central Falls schools remain the very worst performing in the state.  Realizing now that the relationship of Infante-Green to a leading Rhode Island education reformer was a very close, if not almost familial one, one also wonders about her statement that no one in Rhode Island had told her just how bad the condition of the schools were, or the condition of the education system, in general.


Victor Capellan is widely credited with the good work he has done in the Central Falls school system as superintendent.  However, the needle has only moved slightly in terms of how the children are doing - giving us all a predictive moment in just how long it takes to turn around a large ship going in the wrong direction in Rhode Island.


Earlier this month, the Commissioner’s ideas began with Community Forums, or listening tours - and then there was the idea to bring the parents and community in for a painting party of sorts. That idea resulted in a few companies stepping forward offering thousands of dollars of free expertise and service - but they are being held back until the labor unions can “approve” of this. And, of course, structural repairs, mold removal and asbestos abatement would all need to be done first, prior to any community painting effort. The worst strategy would be to put lipstick on all these pigs.


Today the Commissioner will hold the next to last community forum. It is 7 weeks to school opening. The cog is in this wheel, now, and we know how, in this state, once these things begin, where they usually go. Will the people’s hope be dashed again? What is the next step, Commissioner?