VIDEO: Raimondo Defends Not Including Public in Choosing Pick for Next Education Commissioner

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

 

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Angelica Infante-Green (left) joined Governor Gina Raimondo at the Rhode Island State House on Tuesday.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo introduced Angelica Infante-Green, her pick for the next Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, at the Rhode Island State House on Tuesday. 

Following the presentation, Raimondo defended her decision to present one pick to the Board of Education — and public. 

“Ken [Wagner] told me several months ago it was time for him to move on, so at that point the responsible thing for me to do was to try and interview candidates — we looked at about a half a dozen, I sat with a few, she was the clear star,” said Raimondo. “Several members of the board met with her, spent time with her, and now they’ll have their meeting [within] the week where they will decide what they will they do.”

“People have been calling on me to lead on this issue,” said Raimondo. “The RICAS scores, if that isn’t a call to action — I don’t know what is.”

In Massachusetts, Infante-Green was one of three finalists in 2018 for the same position but lost out to now-Commissioner Jeff Riley.  WBUR conducted public interviews with all three candidates, which can be found here

In 2018, Rhode Island students performed 17-20% worse than Massachusetts on the new assessments

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The press event came a day after Raimondo announced her choice to replace outgoing Commissioner Ken Wagner, who leaves in April.

“[Infante-Green’s] a fierce fighter for children — her own children and everyone else’s children — she’ll take that attitude to all the kids of Rhode Island,” said Raimondo. “It’s not going to be easy,..this is about the hard work in the trenches day after day in every level of our education system and refusing to give up until we get the gains that we need.”

Infante-Green called the pick by Raimondo an “honor” — which needs to be approved by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education. 

“What drives me is a couple of things — I’m a mother of a couple of kids — and I’m a wife,” said Infante-Green.  I’m a Latina woman — I’m a woman of color. What that means is that I’ve had to fight my entire life. Nothing was handed to me.”

“We’re embarking in a huge undertaking to roll up our sleeves…this is not just an education initiative, but a Rhode Island initiative,” said Infante-Green, who added that she is a “teacher at heart.”

 
 

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