School board member accuses Providence schools of inflating credits to boost graduation rates

Providence Public Schools building. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Providence Public Schools is being accused of inflating the credits of two dozen students to boost graduation rates.

Ty’Relle Stephens, a member of the Providence school board, said that some students had credits on their transcripts that they had not earned.

Stephens sent a letter to Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green about the accusations on Aug. 5.

“Graduation inflation misrepresents data, and directly harms students. We are Rhode Island’s capital, and we should have a school system that we should be proud of,” the letter read.

He brought up the accusations during Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Providence Superintendent Javier Montañez released a statement Wednesday, responding to Stephens’ accusations, saying in part, “The inflammatory statements by Mr. Stephens during last night’s meeting of the Council of Elementary and Secondary Education are exactly the kind of behavior that has been holding our schools back for years – adults fighting with adults over personal grudges and for personal gain while our students suffer.”

Montañez expressed that he believes it was reckless and irresponsible for Stephens to broadcast the allegations while an investigation was in progress, but added that the accusations are being taken serious and that the matter is thoroughly being investigated.

“I stand by my staff until there is verified evidence of wrongdoing. I want it made clear that no such evidence exists at this time,” the superintendent concluded.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island