2 experts explain missed opportunities in Providence teachers contract

Bizar Male

PROVIDENCE — Providence had an opportunity to profoundly change the way students are taught and teachers are trained, but instead, both teachers and management chose to nibble around the edges. 

When the state took over the Providence schools schools in November 2019 after a scathing report from Johns Hopkins University, there was a clear sense that the teachers’ contract needed a radical reset. 

More:Providence teachers overwhelmingly OK 3-year contract

More:Will these changes to the teacher’s contract in Providence drive education reform?

Asked whether the new contract, ratified by teachers Friday night, met those expectations, former Providence Supt. Susan Lusi said, “That certainly seemed to be the hope when the state took over. 

“As time went on, I began to honestly wonder,” she said. “I thought they would move more quickly and possibly impose a contract, knowing full well that they might end up in court. My sense is neither governor (Gina Raimondo and Dan McKee) was anxious to go to court.” 

Lusi, who ran the Providence schools from 2011 to 2015, described the 60-page agreement as “not nothing” — but not what it could be.  

Outlining the contract’s upside 

Here is what she liked: the additional days of teacher training, the increased scrutiny of lesson plans, especially for new teachers; turning unassigned periods into planning periods; and the requirement that teachers participate in two rounds of parent-teacher conferences and four school events each year. 

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