Where Are the Providence Children Coming From?


Via the RI Taxpayers daily newsletter, I see that Providence is defying the statewide trend of fewer students’ enrolling in public school.  Here’s Anni Shalvey, from WPRI:

In 2011, the Providence School District closed five schools in response to dwindling enrollment. Since then, an unexpected bump in students is bringing the classrooms to capacity.

“We’re looking at a shortage of seats in middle schools that was unanticipated,” said Christina O’Reilly of the Providence School District.

It’s not a huge bump – about a 1.7-percent increase in enrollment since the schools were closed, according to data from the Rhode Island Department of Education.

But this increase is contrary to the overall downward trend happening in Rhode Island – making Providence stand out.

So who’s coming and going in Providence schools?  According to October enrollment data, starting with the 2010-2011 school year, the cumulative increases (meaning each school year’s increase from 2010-11) by racial category was as shown in the following chart.



Providence schools have actually seen a decrease in students identifying as black, white, and Asian.  In just four years, the black population of Providence schools fell almost 10%.  That means the small bump in total enrollment was the result of an even larger increase in mixed-race, native American, and especially Hispanic students.

The next chart looks at the data by categories of services that the students receive. The acronyms stand for:

  • IEP = individualized education plan (i.e., some sort of specialized education or behavioral services)
  • FRL = free or reduced-price lunch eligibility
  • LEP = limited English proficiency



The biggest story, with this chart, is the increase in students requiring some accommodations for a lack of proficiency with English.  Such students increased from 14.3% of the student population to 21.8%.

Summed up, then, the small increase in Providence enrollment resulted from a rather large increase in Hispanic students who need help with English.  That is, the student body is likely to be transitioning toward immigrants from Central and South America.

It’s a little surprising, therefore, that the FRL numbers went down, because they are an indication of income, and one would expect  urban immigrants to skew toward lower-income groups.  However, more than 80% of students are eligible for the program, which means we’re mainly talking displacement.  There are also gradations of the program; poorer students get free lunch, while families with a little bit more income qualify only for reduced-price lunches, and this data doesn’t show whether there’s been a shift between those groups.

  • Mike678

    Evidently our corrupt and self-serving politicians understand well how to fleece the taxpayers. First, the Dems give generous wages to public sector union personnel, who then funnel money and votes to the Dem party. But as the middle class flees and money gets tight–and union allegiance is less assured–the Dems make RI a sanctuary city, letting the taxpayer pay for the illegal’s food and education while they get their votes. Perfect!

  • AlexDeQuestions

    Well, Li’L Rhody has declared itself to be a “Sanctuary State” ,, so what did you expect ?? http://www.sanctuarycities.info/sanctuary_state_rhode_island.htm

    Drive through LaProv or Central Sprawls and you’ll see construction sites where everyone is speaking Spanish — I even saw one with a sign that read NO TRABAJO (( “Not Hiring” ))

    And due to some family issues like my daughter giving birth in December and some ongoing health issues with Mrs ShannonEntropy ,, I have visited W&I’s Hospital a half dozen times in the last few months. At least two-thirds of the non-employee visitors there are speaking Spanish ,, as they were the last time I visited the local Social Security office

    This country is gonna look very *very* different in a decade or two. As Ann Coulter keeps trying to warn us about to no avail no doubt unless The Donald can manage to get himself elected

    • AlexDeQuestions

      Somehow my login got totally messed up — and I can’t figure out how to log out to try again !! Sorry about that !!

      → ShannonEntropy

    • Rhett Hardwick

      It has been at least thirty years that stores in Miami have posted signs reading “We speak English”.

  • Alan G. Palazzo

    I would suggest that someone look at the following data. It is from a US Gov’t website but no one in the RI Press seems to want to investigate these numbers and exactly who is paying for these people… The last I heard there were 148 children in RI, not 308!!!