State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has declined to comment, at least in person, on Providence's waiver of the testing portion of the state's diploma system for roughly 200 seniors. She did provide the following written statement to RIPR, via email.
As I reminded all school superintendents earlier this month, superintendents have authority to grant graduation waivers to their students. Decisions about waivers should be made as close as possible to the students and to the educators who are best able to ascertain their proficiency. Thanks to the hard work of so many Providence students, teachers, and families, many Providence students have improved their achievement level in mathematics and students in the Class of 2014 will be better prepared for success than any other graduating class. I hope the Providence schools will continue their work toward urgently improving student achievement in future graduating classes.