Rhode Island officially takes control of Providence schools

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The state of Rhode Island officially took control of the struggling Providence school district on Friday.

State officials authorized the takeover shortly after researchers at Johns Hopkins University released a scathing report in June. The report found the district beleaguered with low test scores, crumbling infrastructure and widespread dysfunction, labeling it among the worst in the nation.

The takeover is expected to last at least five years. State Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green now controls the school budget, program and personnel, which gives her the power to completely overhaul the existing system.

She said Friday marks a new chapter for Providence schools, students and families.

"It will take all of us working together to develop and implement a meaningful, sustainable plan for transformational change in our schools," she said in a statement.

Parents, educators and community leaders will work to help create the plan for the district's 41 schools and 24,000 students. The teams will focus on priorities identified by Infante-Green— world-class talent, excellence in learning and engaged communities.

Infante-Green is searching for a superintendent to manage the turnaround.

She said the results from this year's Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System reinforce the magnitude of the challenge ahead, with only 12 percent of Providence public school students in grades 3 through 8 meeting or exceeding expectations in math and 17 percent in English language arts. On the SAT college admissions test, 15 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in math and 25 percent in English language arts.

A website was launched to provide updates on the changes.

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