The Return of the Progressives Against Science Education

Actually, it’s doubtful that they ever left. Jim Baron of the Pawtucket Times notes that the members of the Campaign for Rhode Island’s Priorities, as they did last year, want to cut Governor Donald Carcieri’s science education initiatives out of the state budget in order to fund non-educational social service spending…

A coalition of social action groups, the Campaign for Rhode Island’s Priorities, wants lawmakers to roll back a number of tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, increase some other taxes and reduce or eliminate funding for charter school spending, science and technology education and information technology improvements. At the same time, it wants to see spending hiked for several human services programs and to preserve others now on the chopping block.
Specifically, the CRIPs want to save $3,000,000 by “postponing” implementation of the Governor’s Inspiring Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program. But because the CRIP package does not address the structural nature of Rhode Island’s shortfalls, adopting its philosophy would likely require a “postponement” of the program that never ends in order to balance future budgets.
Here’s the description of exactly what the CRIPs would like to eliminate, as described in the Governor’s budget proposal…
To support more efficiencies and better training in the educational system, the Governor’s plan includes previously approved funding of $15.0 million for technology over five years which would focus on “Inspiring Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)”. The Governor recommends funding for innovative technology to upgrade teacher training programs to better prepare teachers to inspire their students to excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Projects that qualify may include, but are not limited to, the Rhode Island Department of Education’s Comprehensive Education Information System and its rollout to school districts as well as specific funding to support teacher professional development in the use of innovative technologies or techniques, including our state’s teacher preparation programs. The “SMART” Classrooms Program will significantly upgrade teacher preparation facilities at Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island by infusing technology into our teacher training programs, creating a Center for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, and upgrading mathematics and science classrooms and laboratories.
According to their press release, CRIP membership includes the National Education Association of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, which would seem to put Rhode Island’s teachers unions on the side of science education cuts. Is it indeed the position of the unions that science education is the first area of the state budget where spending should be reduced in a time of fiscal crisis?
Finally, in the Pawtucket Times article, Ocean State Action director Karen Malcom calls the CRIP package “common sense”. Apparently, to Ms. Malcom, it is common sense that welfare spending takes priority over education. That explains why the members of CRIP are willing to increase taxes to spend on social services, but not to improve education.

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16 years ago

Bob Walsh’s silence on this issue is deafening, isn’t it?
Right up there with the recent Warwick City Council meeting in terms of its insight into the real attitudes and interests that have created, and now can’t change (apart from proposing even higher taxes) RI’s ballooning structural budget deficit.
Gee, the teachers’ unions want to cut math and science education so that RI can keep offering the nation’s most generous and least demanding welfare programs.
And the teachers unions’ membership are all meek as terrified sheep heading for the pension benefits slaughterhouse.
What a surprise.

16 years ago

If the teacher unions are CRIPs, does that make Carcieri a Blood?

16 years ago

im sure compoanys like amgen are happy abou this proposal to eliminate school science funding….they already have to hire most of their employees from out of ri. bc the ri workforce has no skills.
another brilliant move by crips

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