Statement from Councilwoman Kat Kerwin
On this first day of school in Providence, I remain concerned about both the physical conditions and the academic integrity of our schools. Starting today, students will be in class for hours each day, for many months. It is our duty as elected officials to ensure their experience does not continue to reflect what they have already endured for years in the Providence Schools. We cannot improve this system unless the people impacted by the decision making structure are with us every step of the way.
The truth is our parents, students and youth organizations should not have to beg for a seat at the decision making table. While community conversations have been offered to these stakeholders, dialogue is not enough. To truly build power and address the very real concerns of our community we must offer them a chance to be vocal leaders in the plan to change our school system.
This means more than symbolic conversation and passed mics. This means the Commissioner cannot hire a new Superintendent without allowing parents, students and community members to be part of the vetting process. This means the goals and metrics of any plan to improve the Providence schools must be made transparent to all stakeholders. This means an accountability structure that works for all of our students and ensures we are on a path to make every school stronger. This means providing enough additional resources to ensure the system can support every single student, not just a lucky few.
I stand with students, parents and community organizations in demanding a voice in the plan to reform our schools. Only with their real support will we have the chance to see real change in the district.
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 12