Let Them Throw Coins in the Water
Mike, of Assigned Reading, laments that union old-liners and their allies have taken the opportunity of hard times to smash positive education reforms:
Hope High School in Providence has been a beacon in Rhode Island school reform. It was undoubtedly the worst school in the state just five or six years ago. But with RIDE intervention, Hope has turned around. No one can deny the dramatic gains made by the students and teachers at Hope.
The city, however, according to the Journal, is seeking to significantly alter the academic model that was instrumental in Hope’s success. Bureaucrats want to curb the autonomy granted to the school, and eliminate the block schedule that has brought teachers together and established a much needed school community. School leaders want continuity among schools, and claim they cannot afford the additional costs of the Hope model.
That last point, additional costs, rears its head in Mike’s subsequent post:
Today, the Providence Journal reports the city has allocated $112,000 to restore the Henry Bowen Anthony Fountain. This fountain is located at the head of Blackstone Boulevard in the affluent East Side neighborhood, with the extravagant homes of some of Providence’s wealthiest residents.
The same turn of events prompted the following reader email:
This just reminds me of the terrible things I used to hear about the Soviet territories in grade school, where the local political leaders would put themselves into lavish properties while presiding over hunger and poverty, all in the name of ‘serving the workers’. Here is the most upper-class, liberal, educated neighborhood in Providence, a city full of crumbling infrastructure, awarding itself a monument (in the name of ‘better neighborhoods’ and ‘fiscal stimulus’). The irony of the fountain being shut down thirty years ago to help close a budget hole does not escape me. The park’s main recurring event is the new uber-expensive upper-class farmer’s market, which I suppose will now be accompanied by the delightful sound of the entirety of two dozen households’ tax dollars percolating through polished marble.
The takeaway for those of a reformist bent is that the governing power base in the city and state has no concern that Rhode Islanders can muster the will to turn them out. Perhaps we can rebrand the fountain as a “citizen request kiosk.” Tying wishes to coins is as apt to turn the state around as following the due processes of local government.