Media folks and others were quick to notice that Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza was absent from the press conference where the new superintendent of Providence Schools, Harrison Peters, was officially introduced.
His office says he wasn’t invited. And predictably, his absence has now become a story —and that is part of our problem. We rail against the chronic underperformance in our capital city’s schools, we say our hearts break for students, families and staff trapped in a broken system, and then we breathe oxygen into stupid controversies like who was and wasn’t invited to a press conference.
He knew when it was—if he wanted to go, he could have.
I get that adult squabbles and slights — perceived or real—make for entertaining fodder but I have searched my mind to come up with even one example of how focusing on the reasons for Elorza’s absence helps to move the ball forward for students. In a city where under 10 percent of 8th grade students read, write and compute on grade level, we don’t have time for this nonsense.
When we focus on adult drama, we fail kids.