Are We Entering the Re-education Zone?
Perhaps it’s too easy to be the naysayer in a place like Rhode Island, but something about this good news:
Legislation approved by the General Assembly on Tuesday and signed by Gov. Donald L. Carcieri later in the day raised the limit on charter schools in Rhode Island from 20 to 35, a key part of the state’s $126.6 million Race to the Top application.
Combined with this show of enthusiasm:
Governor Carcieri, Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist and Providence Supt. Tom Brady are leading a five-member team that will present the state’s Race to the Top application to a panel of judges at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. …
Joining the team are a dozen supporters, ranging from mayors to teacher union representatives to Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and House Speaker Gordon D. Fox.
A spirit of cooperation and goodwill between the Democratic-controlled House and Senate and the Republican governor dominated a rally at the State House Tuesday afternoon to see the group off. Just an hour later, lawmakers passed a bill to expand the cap on charter schools from 20 to 35, a boon to the state’s application.
Makes me think of this:
“We’re going to have to push for change to S3050 [the state’s tax cap legislation],” Gist told hard deadlines, acknowledging that some communities, like Portsmouth, were at cap, had aggressively managed per-pupil costs, and would not be able to sustain the proposed cuts. “It’s not just 3050,” she said, adding that changes would be needed to the whole funding system. To hear the Commissioner say that RIDE would line up behind changing the tax cap — with the BEP as leverage — was probably the best news that has come out of the last few days of school funding drama.
Many of us have been relieved to see somebody standing up to the teachers’ unions, but the fact is that our fundamental problem has been that we’re less powerful than they are. With our elected representatives lining up, to a person, to claim federal largess, increasing the number of charter schools, the amount of federal money, and the stringency of standards in key subjects could come at a higher cost than we know.