McKee’s Learn 365 RI education initiative may justify a response of Turn 180.
Whether it’s peculiar or not (given his governance style) the most-conspicuous thing about the Learn 365 RI initiative — for which Democrat Governor Dan McKee has sought (and received) a PR boost — is how undefined it is. There’s some effort to get municipalities to commit to something, although what that may be isn’t clear. The governor is promoting a modest $47 million to ” help cities and towns build out community centers to support out of school learning activity,” but the strings and activities are not defined.
And there’s some sort of new non-profit on the scene, but it’s even more shadowy than the other vagaries:
The state will offer guidance to participating municipalities with the help of a newly created nonprofit called Always Learning. McKee was tight-lipped on what exactly the organization will do. However, he said “my interpretation is that they’re going to be able to access philanthropy and other dollars and then they become a facilitator and can provide guidance through staff to help municipalities maximize the learning opportunity.”
In short, there’s no plan, here. The initiative is a general idea and statement of aspiration.
Rhode Islanders should also worry it’s actually not as benign as that suggests. McKee owes the teachers unions, the construction unions, and other state insiders big for his election. Building community centers and pulling together government funding to provide babysitting and other services all year long could help to pay off some of his political debt.
At best, then, Learn 365 RI may be one of those PR stunts that flashes in a news cycle or two and then peters out after the spending of some millions of dollars for the benefit of special interests. At its worst, it could be part of the relentless push by ideologues to gain uninterrupted access to children while creating jobs for themselves.
In that case, the best response would not be mere apathy, but an active effort to Turn 180.
Featured image by Caleb Woods on Unsplash.