January 5, 2009

Re: Tim Williamson

Justin Katz

I missed part of the conversation, but according to Dan's subsequent paraphrase, Williamson also mentioned draft legislation that would enable local school committees to modify contracts on the grounds that there is simply no money and that would centralize contract negotiation within the state government (the Department of Education, I believe).

Does that strike anybody else as odd? The legislation would simultaneously move contract negotiation to a higher level of government and enable a lower level of government to renege? Either that's incorrect, or something suspicious is going on.

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.


With all the bantering about individual city and town school contract and how poorly the teachers provide for the children, it’s no surprise the state would make a power grab by taking control of teacher contracts under a unified plan.

In other words, the state is saying we’ve heard enough about how poor the contracts are so we as the state is stepping in and will negotiate one contract to cover all school district.

While were at it, we’ll make one unified school district for the whole state of RI essentially eliminating all local city, town and parental control over the local schools and some curriculum. One shoe will fit all and all children will learn at the same rate at the same time with the same style of teaching and pass all the tests.

Face facts, the whole state of RI is the size of just one school district in some states. There is no need for 37 school districts. The State of RI Department of Education already provides the local school districts with all the required educational standards the individual teachers must be followed. The State also provides a teacher training college and the State of RI provides a substantial amount of finical aide to the 37 school districts and systems.

The State of RI has already taken over the Central Falls School system. Look how well Central Falls is doing now with education!

The State of RI is just about already running all of the school systems. Get rid of the local administrations and school committees and there will be money to be saved.

State of Hawaii covering over 1,600 miles; largest capitol city in the world and 300 non-interconnected islands most isolated population in the world has only one school district and one department of education working with NEA. Everyone is basically happy and nobody bad mouths teachers in Hawaii. However most all parents’ and business volunteer services at the local schools both public and private. There is very strong community pride in each local school because of the parent and business interaction. State of Hawaii schools are in session year round with only short breaks.

By national state size, Hawaii is ranked 47 and RI is ranked 50.

Posted by: Ken at January 5, 2009 6:46 PM

Yeah Great. Williamson wants the State Board of Education to take over teacher contract negiotiations. Now who would be on that board but teachers and education slanted do gooders?


Posted by: JIm at January 5, 2009 7:31 PM

So why not a single state police department, fire department and public works too?

With the troopers in charge of the former, things could only improve.

With rationalization of station and equipment locations, manning policies and the like, RI might even end up spending less than its current first in the nation ranking for per capita outlays on fire protection. And fire marshals might actually enforce regulations in West Warwick.

The benefits would be similar for public works, with the only losses a few politicians who would have to pay for paving their own driveways, and whose streets might not be the first ones to get plowed.

Hey, if Timmy the Genius wants to do this for the schools, why not for all the other major local government functions too?

Posted by: John at January 5, 2009 11:17 PM

I am inclined to agree that a centralized school district might be the way to go. My thinking is that it focuses accountability and avoids the leapfrog manipulation of data where less paid districts are always comparing themselves to others in a perpetual cycle.

The risk, it seems, is the loss of diversity. Rather than have experimentation between the districts, we'll just have one - probably bad - model.

The issue is similar to the concept of federalism.

Posted by: thinkaboutit at January 6, 2009 9:15 AM

>I am inclined to agree that a centralized school district might be the way to go.

The only conceivable way for it to work would be IF the state also paid the bulk of education costs (say at least 75%), and then only on a per capita basis for each child.


1) You'll have unelected / totally unaccountable education bureaucrats "negotiating" the statewide contracts (education bureaucrats who themselves union members whose own compensation would inevitably track the contracts they are "negotiating"); and

2) They and the General Assembly will pass the bill on to the localities via property taxes - so the people responsible for raising the taxes (both local elected officials and voters) will have no input on the expenditures driving those taxes.

3) Don't think for a minute that those "statewide" contracts won't include provisions for "special needs" and "ESL" to drive a disproportionate share of funding to Providence, Woonsocket, etc.

As bad as the system is now, this would be far far worse - the typical Rhode Island shuffle of divesting authority for spending taxpayer money from responsibility to the electorate for raising it.

Posted by: Tom W at January 6, 2009 9:39 AM

3) Don't think for a minute that those "statewide" contracts won't include provisions for "special needs" and "ESL" to drive a disproportionate share of funding to Providence, Woonsocket, etc.

Tom W

Are not the two programs mentioned unfunded (or not fully funded) mandates fron the federal government or the state
that indivual districts have to implement under law.

Posted by: phil at January 6, 2009 6:02 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.