March 9, 2007

A State of Child Abuse

Justin Katz

Every time I come across such news as this, I wonder what it's going to take to get people incensed:

... a new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, called “Leaders and Laggards,” analyz[es] the performance of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report found that four New England states — Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut — rank among America’s top six in terms of their public schools. A fifth, Maine, fares very well, ranking 16th overall.

The performance of only one New England state is dismal: Rhode Island, which ranks 16th from the bottom, despite consistently finishing near the top in taxpayer spending per student. ...

This report confirms what many others have found. It is the umpteenth warning that Rhode Island is failing its students and undermining its economic prospects. Teachers unions have their place, but clearly politicians have allowed the unions’ special interests to take precedence over the needs of students — with the results shown above. A radical change is necessary. Parents and taxpayers must demand it, and political leaders must come forward to lead it, putting students first.

I realize that a phalanx of special interest groups marches in the minds of state legislators, but I have to believe that Rhode Islanders, even public union Rhode Islanders, even (perhaps) legislators, have strong reactions to such results. There are just too many obstacles between those reactions and the political guillotine.

The first question to answer, especially among such citizens as make up Anchor Rising's audience, is: Why on Earth can't the Republican Party mount an opposition campaign despite the state's clear faults? Perhaps it would do well to stop pretending that it's a political party and approach the eternal campaign as if it were a political action group. Stop trying to play the game and begin promising to make heads roll.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Until I start seeing PTAs and parents groups picketing the GA, or COUNTER protesting when the whiny teachers go on one of their 'informational pickets' I'm just going to sit back and watch as the state sinks further and further toward 'third world' status.

Honestly? I don't think the parents really care. I've seen NOTHING to prove me wrong.

Posted by: Greg at March 9, 2007 8:13 AM

Justin I couldn't agree with you more.

We will not have an opposition party in this state until the RIGOP or some new organization breaks onto the scene with a willingness to fight.

Unfortunately the local press doesn't seem to sense the urgency either. I would give them credit for the editiorial, but the "story" was on page 2 of the Projo Business section on Sunday. It wasn't even an article, just one of several points of interest in a larger piece.

You would think this would be front page news!

Greg is right, the ship may have to sink a lot deeper before enough people wake up.

Posted by: Perry Ellis at March 9, 2007 12:07 PM

>>Why on Earth can't the Republican Party mount an opposition campaign despite the state's clear faults?

What? And endanger the RIGOP's status as the "go along to get along" political party?

Posted by: Tom W at March 9, 2007 3:10 PM

Don't you know? It was in the business section because the Projo editors think that anything issued by the Chamber of Commerce is about strictly about "business". If the report had been issued by the NEA, it would be in front section because only then the report would be about "education".

Posted by: Anthony at March 9, 2007 3:14 PM

Quick, check my vitals, check my drink... I agree with Anthony!

Posted by: Perry Ellis at March 9, 2007 3:33 PM

Let me start by agreeing that there is something wrong with paying a lot and ending up near the bottom in results.

But, could you please explain to me again how eliminating the teachers' unions would improve education? I mean, I'm just a stupid socialist (according to a lot of commenters here), so could you big, bright conservatives please enlighten me?

Because, if I understand Free Market Theory, if you drive down the wage paid, you drive down the number and quality of applicants.

And do not attempt an explanation unless you address that question. It is the very heart of the proposed solution.

On the one hand, eliminating the union eases the tax burden, which is a positive.

But if you end up with teachers who really aren't competent enough to do anything else, the end result is to cut our own throats by reducing the quality of teachers even more.

So, how does driving down teachers' wages square with free-market economics? I am assuming that we do want good teachers. Or am I wrong about that?

I mean, isn't it just possible that the problem lies elsewhere?

Like in the fact that median incomes have not risen since the early 1970s? Which means that we cannot afford the pay increases because, in real terms, most people's incomes are not increasing.

All thanks to the Supply-Side Economic Theory that has taken root in the last 30 years. Which, coincidentally, is when wages stopped increasing.

Posted by: klaus at March 10, 2007 10:00 AM
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