Statement from Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller

Statement from Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller

Statement from Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller

This first day of school I know that students, parents, teachers, and administrators are putting their heart and effort into a positive first day back for our city’s youth. I also know that everyone must be feeling anxious and uncertain- while our city is united in acknowledging the crisis facing our schools, we’ve had so little information on what’s coming next, it’s hard to feel anything but uncertain.

As a city councilor, here’s my back to school commitment:

I will support a state intervention that gives meaningful structural decision making and voice to students and parents. I believe that’s the critical missing piece. If we’re serious about long-term change, not surface change- if we want to truly change the culture that brought us here- student and parent participation in decision making is non-negotiable. This means finding a path that goes well beyond listening sessions and community forums.

I will support a state intervention that includes a transparent process, accountable to the public, not just the state and city structures that got us here. Let’s make these critical decisions about our schools in the light of day, where public input is taken seriously and responded to.

I will support a state intervention that includes a turn-around plan beyond improvements in reading and math scores. Let’s make sure that we’re also measuring improvements in social-emotional supports, cultural competency, and behavioral interventions that embrace difference. Let’s embrace a plan to change how it feels to be in a Providence Public School every day. Let’s create a culture that embraces learning, curiosity, and a deep respect for one another.

I will support a state intervention that looks hard at school buildings and the health of students and teachers learning and teaching in those buildings. One that looks at funding mechanisms for our schools and understands that we didn’t get to this crisis point overnight- this has been a long time coming and every state institution, taxpayer, elected or appointed official, has a piece of this and can give a hand in creating positive, lasting change.

No one has a silver bullet for widescale change for our youth. But I think the students and parents who are organizing together know what won’t work- because it’s failed multiple generations of students already. Let’s make sure that this process ends the cycle of failing our young people. Let’s stand up for a process that is transparent and accountable to youth and to parents. Parents and students have a right to know what is being planned for their futures. That’s my back to school commitment- I’ll keep standing up for that voice, and that right, as we enter into a state process.

Rachel M. Miller
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 13

Statement from Councilwoman Kat Kerwin

Statement from Councilwoman Kat Kerwin

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.

Kat Kerwin
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 12

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