The State of the System
Just in case anybody missed this nugget from our state’s leading education unionist:
Robert A. Walsh Jr., executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, said repealing the tax levy law would also alleviate the problem.
Said Walsh, “We simply can’t continue to produce a competitive public education system in our current state.”
Put aside Walsh’s dubious usage of the word “continue.” “Repealing the tax levy law” is a one-step-removed synonym for “raise property taxes by more than 5% every year across the state.” Those who believe that the unions will behave as a partner in education reform should be well aware that the core component of their solution is, yes, to make Rhode Island’s tax burden even greater.
Furthermore, the only way in which Walsh’s statement of possibility “in our current state” can be taken as true is if he excludes the possibility of real, substantial, change to the way in which education is administered and financed. One recent call for such change came from Bishop Hendricken High School Vice Principal John Jackson:
At first glance, it seemed like a feel-good story about a young girl from a war-torn country (Liberia) who was living a dream here in the United States. She was in a school (St. Raphael Academy) where she felt free to speak out, where teachers push students to do their best, and where she has aspirations of attending college. Her prior experience in the public schools of Providence was poor, to say the least — being teased and mocked, and even beaten up a few times.
Wouldn’t everyone who is concerned with every qualifying student being given an opportunity for a great education be inspired and energized by a tax-credit program that allows businesses to donate money to help in this cause?
Apparently not, because once again, along comes the union perspective, and again the focus is not on education, but on protecting their own, and funneling money into a failing public school system. That the education of this young girl has improved dramatically is inconsequential to some, evidently.
As paradoxical as it may sound to the blue-state mind, all viable solutions for repairing Rhode Island’s ailing educational system require that the money going to the public schools be decreased, whether it goes instead to private educators or to private citizens to improve their lives and our economy (or some combination of the two).