A Day in the Life of RI Education
A look at the papers today gives quite a little snapshot of the sorry state of education in Rhode Island. Central Falls is firing it’s high school teachers as a way to deal with a chronically under-performing school (with the blessing of the State Education Commissioner Gist and U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan) because the teachers union didn’t want to put in a couple more hours a week at $30/hr; Cranston is cutting school sports and other activities instead of cutting where it would hurt adults; the budget crunch is prompting West Warwick and Cumberland to look at school consolidation–something worth studying on its own, not as part of crisis management; Providence held a meeting about their troubled schools and all of 30 or so people came; nor did anyone show at a funding formula hearing at the State House; finally, apparently Pawtucket has been spending about $10 million a year over budget on their schools. Union games, knee-jerk solutions, playing on the emotions of parents, parental apathy and budget mismanagement. All predictable and preventable if only more stakeholders (which is pretty much every RI taxpayer!) had the will to make the necessary changes.
Thankfully, we seem to have an education Commissioner who is willing to follow up her rhetoric with actions and lead us forward with new ideas and a fresh attitude. It’s up to us to support her (as some are) by backing her proposals and demanding accountability and change in council and committee meetings. The alternative is more of the same stories, day after day.