On Sticking to Business, One: Edward Mazze
Sometimes the wisdom of allowing the Providence Journal Business section to indulge in “commentary” isn’t at all apparent. Edward Mazze, for example, did just fine, yesterday, until he transitioned from business and economic statistics to education with the following paragraph:
Based on the number of elementary and secondary schools in a state with a little over 1 million population, Rhode Island should be well-positioned to prepare the worker of the future. Rhode Island currently has 304 public schools.
The “should be” isn’t the case, however, as Mazze proceeds to illustrate, although his prescription misses the mark in its poor assessment of political realities in our state:
We need more accountability for dollars spent and on future investments. We are too small a state in population and geography to spend the amount of money for the management of education in over 30 school districts with numerous union contracts when a state our size should have no more than five school districts and a statewide union contract. The savings in dollars on administration and labor negotiations if placed back into the education of students should result in more progress in achieving targets.
Yes, you read that right: Mazze asserts that increased accountability can be achieved by pushing education even more into the General Assembly’s purview. Where, in the legislative body that runs the state, does Mazze hear a strong opposing voice to unions? Where the inclination to spend and invest prudently? A statewide union contract would mean that the unions would no longer have to spread their resources out fighting small skirmishes around the state (small skirmishes for which groups such as Tiverton Citizens for Change can crop up when a lack of accountability appears as a line item on mortgage bills)?
A consolidated school system would fit in very nicely with Rhode Island’s governmental practice of ensuring that no one group (much less individual) is every decisively accountable for failures of policy. Note Mazze’s crucial “if”:
The savings in dollars on administration and labor negotiations if placed back into the education of students should result in more progress in achieving targets.
Watchers of Rhode Island politics may suspect that “if” to be akin to the Black Spot in Treasure Island, although rather than being indicative of a pronouncement of guilt, it’s a pronouncement of vulnerability. “Savings” from school consolidation would be quite an attractive supplement to the now-state-employed union members’ contracts and a lucrative source of revenue for our spendthrift representatives.
Much as the Western Left has learned to use the language of diversity and compassion to promote its totalitarian policies, the Rhode Island corruptocrats are beginning to rehearse the language of business and economics. One needn’t possess a degree in either to recognize that the actual benefits to the customer of consolidation are typically a secondary motive, at best. In a polity with such contempt for taxpayers, we would hardly register.