What's next for the Providence schools?


As discussion continues on budget cuts, another piece of Rhode Island's economic future is the quality of the Providence schools. With more than 25,000 students, the district accounts for about one-sixth of the state's students, and if they're not well-prepared for the job market, it will have a very adverse effect. I take a look at this issue in this week's Phoenix:

Befitting the messiah-like way in which new superintendents are expected to single-handedly solve the complex and deep-rooted problems of urban education, Tom Brady, the former military man stepping in to replace Evans in September, happens to share a name with the superstar quarterback of the New England Patriots.

Yet delivering serious improvement in the Providence schools will obviously not be a quick fix. ...

A big part of the difficulty is bringing the hallmarks of successful education programs — such as small class sizes and close attention — on a district-wide basis to a system with about one-sixth of the students in Rhode Island, and where the entrenched interests and intractable problems lead one parent to dub serious education reform the third rail of local politics.

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