Rhode Island Politics & Taxation, Part XXI: Blocking More Charter Schools Means Hurting Our Children

The latest news on charter schools in Rhode Island is bad news for our children, especially those who need our help the most:

The House Finance Committee’s decision to impose a two-year moratorium on new charter schools has derailed plans to open such a school in East Providence this fall.
Dennis Langley, chief executive officer of the Urban League of Rhode Island, said his organization had planned to open a school with 140 students in grades 8 through 11, but the moratorium, approved Tuesday, has put plans on hold.
“We’re very disappointed,” he said yesterday. “When you see so many youngsters wanting a choice and wanting to reach the unreachable, it’s very sad.”
The Academy of Science, Art and Technology would place a heavy emphasis on math and science instruction and would enroll students from Providence and East Providence, Langley said. The school would eventually grow to 300 students in grades 8 through 12.
If the General Assembly concurs with the House Finance Committee, it appears that Rhode Island would be the only state in the country whose legislature has imposed a moratorium on charter schools, according to the Center for Education Reform, a national reform organization.
(The education bill goes to the full House on Monday.)…
Charter schools are public schools paid for with public money. They tend to be small, innovative schools that are free of the bureaucracy that controls traditional schools. Rhode Island has 11 charter schools, four of them in Providence.
Yesterday, charter school leaders in Providence speculated about the fate of a movement that they say offers parents and children a valuable alternative to the traditional system.
Richard Landau, the outgoing CEO of the Textron Chamber of Commerce Academy, said, “It’s obvious that the battlelines have been drawn and that a tremendous number of people who are entrenched” are trying to stall the momentum of charter schools. Textron was the first charter school in Rhode Island.
“Education is a huge industry,” Landau said. “It’s their livelihood and these people are threatened by change. Well, we better wake up. While we’re feeling comfortable, all of these other countries are licking their chops. They’re going right by us.”…
Thompson thinks that charter schools are encountering resistance partly because of their success.
“Charters are a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “They are demonstrating that within their scope, kids can master skills that they haven’t been able to do in schools that are large and overcrowded.”…

The bill is here.
As one educational activist wrote me:

…I would love it if people would scream about this moratorium. The paper talked about thousands of dollars flowing out of the public schools, but charters ARE public schools and not one of them is low-performing. And I believe strongly in choice and with the unions having a stanglehold on schools, choice is one of the few ways to get some of these kids educated.

We should scream loudly. The resistance to educational reforms led by unions and the educational bureaucracy is hurting our children. That is indefensible and morally repugnant behavior.

This posting continues a periodic series on Rhode Island politics and taxation, building on twenty previous postings:
I – Guiding Principles for Sound Public Policy
II – The Outrageous Tax Burden in Rhode Island
III – 2004: The Year in Review
IV – The NEA’s Disinformation Campaign
V – Governor Carcieri’s State of the State Address
VI – “Citizens for Representative Government’s” Deceitful Manipulation of the Constitutional Convention Vote
VII – The Extreme Tax Burden in the City of Providence
VIII – Rhode Island Gets a C+ on its Report Card
IX – How Speaker Murphy’s Changing of the Rules of the House Reduces Your Freedom
X – East Greenwich Teachers’ Salary and Benefits Data
XI – What Was Rep. Fox Doing in Portsmouth?
XII – Why Do RI Citizens Passively Consent to Governmental Control by Powerful Interests?
XIII – RI House Leaders Show No Respect for Rule of Law by Undermining Separations of Powers, Part I
XIV – More Bad Faith Behavior by the NEA
XV – RI House Leaders Show No Respect for Rule of Law by Undermining Separations of Powers, Part II
XVI – Tom Coyne – RI Schools: Big Bucks Have Not Brought Good Results
XVII – RI Public Pension Problems
XVIII – Union Doublespeak, Again
XIX – Another Stab at Killing Off Future Economic Growth
XX – Defining a Core Problem in Rhode Island
In a nutshell, here is what I think the negotiating position of the East Greenwich School Committee should be on some of the key financial terms of the contract.
Other postings include:
Background Information on the East Greenwich NEA Labor Dispute
The NEA’s Disinformation Campaign
East Greenwich Salary & Benefits Data
More Bad Faith Behavior by the NEA
The Debate About Retroactive Pay
Would You Hurt Our Children Just To Win Better Contract Terms?
The Question Remains Open & Unanswered: Are We/They Doing Right By Our Children?
Will The East Greenwich Teachers’ Union Stop Their Attempts to Legally Extort Residents?
You Have To Read This Posting To Believe It! The Delusional World of the NEA Teachers’ Union
So What Else is New? Teachers’ Union Continues Non-Productive Behaviors in East Greenwich Labor Talks
“Bargaining Rights are Civil Rights”
In addition to financial issues, management rights are the other big teachers’ union contract issue. “Work-to-rule” or “contract compliance” only can become an issue because of how management rights are defined in union contracts. The best reading on this subject is the recent report by The Education Partnership. It is must reading.
Other editorials and postings include:
ProJo editorial: Derailing the R.I. gravy train
ProJo editorial: RI public unions work to reduce your family’s quality of life
ProJo editorial: Breaking the taxpayer: How R.I. teachers get 12% pay hikes
Selfish Focus of Teachers Unions: Everything But What Is Good For Our Kids
Tom Coyne – RI Schools: Big Bucks Have Not Brought Good Results
The NEA: There They Go, Again!
A Response: Why Teachers’ Unions (Not Teachers!) Are Bad For Education
“A Girl From The Projects” Gets an Opportunity to Live the American Dream
Doing Right By Our Children in Public Education Requires Thinking Outside The Box
Debating Rhode Island Public Education Issues
The Cocoon in which Entitled State Employees Live
Are Teachers Fairly Compensated?
Warwick Teachers’ Union Throws Public Tantrum
The Deep Performance Problems with American Public Education
Freedom, Hard Work & Quality Education: Making The American Dream Possible For ALL Americans
Parents or Government/Unions: Who Should Control Our Children’s Educational Decisions?
Milton Friedman on School Choice
Now Here is a Good Idea

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