Obama Admin Tells RI: Charter Schools or Else

It should be no surprise that the Obama Adminstration, which is on the record as favoring Charter Schools and other education reform, would raise its eyebrows when a state cuts such funding. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has made it pretty clear that the President won’t look favorably upon those who turn their backs on educational innovation:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in Washington on Monday that Rhode Island may be putting itself at “at a huge competitive disadvantage” for securing federal stimulus dollars.
The General Assembly’s proposed 2010 budget eliminates $1.5 million that Governor Carcieri wanted to spend to open two new charters — a middle school in Central Falls and the state’s first “mayoral academy” in Cumberland.
“Places like Rhode Island that are thinking about underfunding charters are obviously going to put themselves at a huge competitive disadvantage going forward. So we don’t think that’s a smart thing for them to do and we’re going to make that very, very clear,” Duncan told an audience of more than 3,000 people when he was asked about Rhode Island during a question period at the National Charter Schools Conference.
“Where states are considering underfunding charters, as appears to be the case in Rhode Island, they’re placing themselves at a strategic disadvantage for Race to the Top money. They’re going to hurt their chances,” he added moments later, according to U.S. Education Department officials.

From a fiscal point of view, it seems like that $1.5 million would be money well spent.

The Race to the Top fund is a $5-billion discretionary pot of cash within the White House’s economic stimulus package that Duncan will distribute later this year to a handful of states with a proven track record of innovation.
For Rhode Island, that grant money — if secured — could come on top of more than $200 million that the federal government has already earmarked within the stimulus for education.
Rhode Island Board of Regents member Angus Davis, speaking on behalf of the state Education Department, said the secretary’s remarks should send a clear message to state lawmakers that they would be wise to restore the $1.5 million in new money for charters if they don’t want to jeopardize millions in additional funding.
“Secretary Duncan’s comments are entirely consistent with the comments he and the Obama administration have made about artificial limits about charter school limits,” Davis said.

I’m not sure if Rhode Island has a “proven track record of innovation”, but killing any innovation certainly won’t help! Where to get the money? How much additional savings could we get for moving the retirement age from 62 (or 55!) to, say, 65? It seems like a compassionate and forward-thinking way to go: postponing the payouts to adults for the sake of the children.

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BobN
BobN
11 years ago

I just sent the following email to my rep:
Dear Rep. Malik:
Much in the news over the past week is the decision of the House Finance
Committee to delete from its budget the Governor’s proposed funding of $1.5
million for expanded charter schools. Many analysts believe that this cut
was made at the demand of the teachers union, which is against charter
schools because it sees them as a threat to its monopoly over the state
system.
What do you think about this?
Where do you stand on this issue?
My recommendation is that you sponsor an amendment to the budget restoring
the charter schools, and take the money out of the social services budget,
specifically by eliminating services for illegal aliens.
It would be a simple matter to insert a single paragraph, stating:
“Effective July 1, 2009, all current recipients and new applicants for
social services funding of any kind must present valid proof of United
States citizenship or legal immigrant status and residency in Rhode Island
in order to receive or to continue receiving services.”
Cutting back the spending of hard-earned taxpayer money on illegals would
provide many multiples of the $1.5 million needed for the charter schools.
I plan to visit the House this week to watch over the budget debate and
vote.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

I just sent the following email to my rep:
Dear Rep. Malik:
Much in the news over the past week is the decision of the House Finance
Committee to delete from its budget the Governor’s proposed funding of $1.5
million for expanded charter schools. Many analysts believe that this cut
was made at the demand of the teachers union, which is against charter
schools because it sees them as a threat to its monopoly over the state
system.
What do you think about this?
Where do you stand on this issue?
My recommendation is that you sponsor an amendment to the budget restoring
the charter schools, and take the money out of the social services budget,
specifically by eliminating services for illegal aliens.
It would be a simple matter to insert a single paragraph, stating:
“Effective July 1, 2009, all current recipients and new applicants for
social services funding of any kind must present valid proof of United
States citizenship or legal immigrant status and residency in Rhode Island
in order to receive or to continue receiving services.”
Cutting back the spending of hard-earned taxpayer money on illegals would
provide many multiples of the $1.5 million needed for the charter schools.
I plan to visit the House this week to watch over the budget debate and
vote.
//

The Chorus
The Chorus
11 years ago

My daughter attends a Charter…the approach works…NO UNION involved…NO USELESS ELECTED OFFICIALS involved…no wonder our “leaders” want no part of this…can’t get their filthy hands in the cookie jars.

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