Rhode Island's education commissioner is seeking to take control of the beleaguered Providence School District by assuming authority over its budget, hiring and firing, and programs.
The Providence Journal reports that the proposal, the most sweeping intervention ever by the state, will go before the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education next week for approval Tuesday.
The move comes in response to last month’s scathing assessment of the Providence public school system by the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Education Policy. After reviewing a dozen schools in the district, a team of educators concluded that Providence schools are riddled with dysfunction and are failing to provide a quality education to itsthe district's 24,000 students.
The system is beset with crumbling buildings, chaotic classrooms, a demoralized staff, uneven instruction and no clear lines of authority, the review found.
A 1997 law called the Crowley Act gives the state education commissioner broad authority to effectively take over a school district, including overhauling the district’s governance, programs, budget and personnel.
It says if a district shows no sign of improvement after three years, the state can exercise control over programs, budgets and personnel.
It also gives the state the authority to close a chronically low-performing school.