Please Define “Predictable”
In “The Unspoken Roadblock”, Justin points out that, while ignoring the six letter complication in our education system, among other education reform measures, RIPEC has called for the state to
implement a predictable formula for state financing of local schools
RIPEC is not the first to use this phrase. The question that pops into my head whenever I hear it is: What does “predictable” mean?
First, as to quantity. If education aid to cities and towns were cut by 20% (which is about right considering the state’s finances) and the General Assembly said, okay, this is what we are committing to distribute every year going forward, that would be predictable, wouldn’t it? There’s always been a lurking suspicion, though, that some of the people who call for “predictable” funding don’t just mean “reliable” but also “more” funding from the state.
If this is the case, we then have to ask, would additional funds be productive? Our school/student performance is in the bottom fifth nationally while teacher compensation is in the top fifth. Hasn’t Rhode Island inadvertantly become the experiment that proves that lots of money does not improve an education system?
Additionally, quite an inequitable distribution ratio got established early on, a ratio that has never been revisited. Some cities and towns receive far more state funding than others and on a basis that does not appear altogether logical. Is fairness part of the definition of “predictable”? Will equitability be addressed as part of establishing a “predictable” funding formula?