PTU rallies for contract, end to state takeover

The Providence Teachers Union (PTU) is demanding an end to the state takeover of the troubled school district.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Providence Teachers Union (PTU) is demanding an end to the state takeover of the troubled school district.

Providence teachers and families marched from the state house to the Department of Education Tuesday evening as part of their demonstration.

“Imploring our state reps and senators to listen to us, to have a meeting with us, and rethink the takeover,” said PTU President Maribeth Calabro.

The state takeover began in 2019 following the abysmal results of the Johns Hopkins report.

Teachers said Tuesday that some things have only gotten worse, pointing to the ongoing issues with reopening schools. They say they haven’t been consulted in the process.

“We’re sick and tired of being treated poorly,” said Teacher Lisa Ricci. “We’re sick and tired of them treating the kids poorly. They have no idea what they’re doing to our students, they keep blaming us.”

“A toxic work environment. They’re afraid. There’s bullying,” said Calabro of the union members.

Providence teachers have also been working without a contract and negotiations have recently soured.

Union members took a vote of no confidence in the education commissioner and superintendent of schools.

“We don’t believe that their leadership is going to get us where we need to be in terms of change and moving our district forward,” said Calabro.

In addition, teachers proposed Tuesday a number of things they believe should be implemented for their students.

This includes better support for multilingual learners, engaging families in school decisions, and incorporating anti-racist curriculum.

“We have to make sure that we are teaching the history and lived experience of our students and families,” said a Providence teacher.

In a joint statement, RIDE and Providence Public Schools said:

“We have spent the last year advocating for the very issues PTU has said they care about and they’ve pushed back every step of the way. Rhode Islanders deserve to know exactly what we are all fighting for—or against. So today, we are once again calling on the PTU to join us in agreeing to open our negotiations to the public.”

 

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island