Rep. Kislak and her intern Alissa Simon released a report about the Providence school takeover, focusing on whether takeovers can be successful and what governance structures Providence and the state might look at for PPSD moving forward. The report can be found here. Key conclusions:
- Control of the Providence schools should return to Providence sooner rather than later.
- Whoever is running Providence schools, whether the state or the city, we need to do a much better job involving the school community in our schools – this sort of community-level organizing and involvement takes an investment of time and staff, and is key to having a thriving school community.
- We need to consider what school governance should look like when the schools return to the city. I do not think that the hybrid school board is the final decision, nor do I think it is a good one. Can we look at the existing structures and make them more accountable? Can we involve the school communities more meaningfully? Do we want to consider some new, outside-the-box ideas? One that I have proposed is an elected school board at the school level, elected by the whole school community, that feeds into a central school board for the city (not exactly the same, but not wholly different from Chicago; not exactly the same but not wholly different from charter school school-level boards). I hope we hear a lot of other ideas, too, and have a meaningful conversation over the next months that lead us to making some decisions about what we want our governance structure to be like when the city gets control of the schools back.
- And, again, what works for governance? Like for schools more generally, community involvement! Let’s keep building structures to ensure robust community involvement and leadership that values and nurtures that involvement.