January 31, 2011

Balance Is Airing One Side

Justin Katz

Governor Lincoln Chafee may be the archetype of the presumptuous wealthy liberal. We've seen him tell representatives of his ideological opposition that he's already done all of the broad listening that he's going to do on particular issues. Now, we're seeing his method of consideration:

"He strongly believes Rhode Island needs a deep and healthy debate on the issue of charter schools because it represents to him a significant determinant in the future of our public school system," Trainor said. "To help spur that healthy debate and discussion, he is going to bring Diane Ravitch to Rhode Island between now and the beginning of spring."

Ravitch, an assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, was once an outspoken supporter of charter schools, standardized testing and No Child Left Behind. Today, she has done a remarkable about-face, emerging as an outspoken critic of all of those things. "School reform today is like a freight train, and I'm out on the tracks saying, 'You're going the wrong way!'" she told The New York Times.

Anchor Rising readers may recall a couple of references to Ravitch last year. More relevant at this time, though, is the governor's apparent definition of "deep and healthy debate": He'll bring in a speaker with whom he agrees, thus sparking discussion among the rest of us, at which point, one suspects he'll close the door on his opposition with a shake of the head. "Sorry, we've already considered it all."

A similar window into Chafee's thought processes emerged at a recent Economic Development Corp. meeting:

Plus, he spoke of lessons learned from a book, "The Flight of the Creative Class," in which Richard Florida explains how the three Ts — technology, talent and tolerance — are what lead to economic growth.

This paragraph caught my eye because Florida's name had just been introduced to the AR comment section by the progressive Russ, who quotes from a Wikipedia article:

Florida's theory asserts that metropolitan regions with high concentrations of technology workers, artists, musicians, lesbians and gay men, and a group he describes as "high bohemians", exhibit a higher level of economic development. Florida refers to these groups collectively as the "creative class." He posits that the creative class fosters an open, dynamic, personal and professional urban environment. This environment, in turn, attracts more creative people, as well as businesses and capital. He suggests that attracting and retaining high-quality talent versus a singular focus on projects such as sports stadiums, iconic buildings, and shopping centers, would be a better primary use of a city's regeneration of resources for long-term prosperity. He has devised his own ranking systems that rate cities by a "Bohemian index," a "Gay index," a "diversity index" and similar criteria.

Whatever one's ideology, suspicion is in order when new indexes conform too closely with preconceptions. Presenting tolerance and diversity as core economic development principles, rather than social principles that might guide economic development, is a bit too convenient. I'll place Florida's writings on my list should I ever get out from under my workload, but on first blush, I'd suggest that economically vibrant locations, particularly high-population cities, tend to generate more opportunities for people who prioritize creativity. The ability to find work as a theater actor or to find galleries in which to hang one's work strikes me as more likely to attract creative types than policy on same-sex marriage and immigration.

But I'm sure the Chafee administration will encourage plenty of non-debate on the topic moving forward.

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.
Whatever one's ideology, suspicion is in order when new indexes conform too closely with preconceptions. Presenting tolerance and diversity as core economic development principles, rather than social principles that might guide economic development, is a bit too convenient.

Notably Florida brings data to support those claims, unlike maybe a certain blogger we know who's own preconceptions conveniently don't need supporting data?

The notion of innovation is the core of the broad range of principles that facilitate it (secure family structures, freedom, belief in larger truths, free markets, and so on)...
Posted by: Russ at January 31, 2011 10:14 AM

There are thousands, if not millions, of pages of "data" that libtards use to support their fatuous claims about "global warming" or "anthropogenic climate change."

Of course, the liberal media was silent when honest researchers revealed that not only were the "data" wrong, they were purposely falsified as part of a liberal campaign for global "social justice".

There is no honesty in the Leftist agenda, so we can safely ignore all that Russ and his friends say.

Posted by: BobN at January 31, 2011 10:34 AM

I miss ACORN

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at January 31, 2011 10:59 AM

Carcieri did the same thing many times. Was there as much complaining about that here?

Posted by: bella at January 31, 2011 11:34 AM

"High Bohemians". Eureka! NOW I GET IT! We create jobs by having more Antique shops. So! That's the Chafee plan. That's what he meant in his Inaugural address. I feel so narrow minded!

We don't need no stinking bio-tech jobs. We don't need to bring manufacturing back! We just need more quaint boutiques with comfy chairs at the check-out, that use Macs instead of cash registers!

I take it all back. Chafee is a feakin' genius!

Posted by: George at January 31, 2011 12:32 PM

Bella, can you cite the times you claim that Carcieri did this, to support your assertion?

Posted by: BobN at January 31, 2011 1:26 PM

His homeland security bill...just wish there were voices of reason in the room before he stuck his foot in his mouth.
And also, when he blindly agreed with whoever told him there was not a single lawyer in the state of Rhode Island competent enough to write a brief on his behalf in the same-sex divorce case.

Posted by: bella at January 31, 2011 2:22 PM

My daughter attends a Charter High School and the NECAP results were released today...her school outpaces the state average in every single data point...thank goodness she'll be out of highschool before Linc can screw it up.

Posted by: JTR at January 31, 2011 2:26 PM

Wait. I was expecting examples of publicly bringing in phony "experts" to a publicly staged but one-sided "discussion" of an issue as a means of lying to the public about open-mindedness and communication while railroading a prepackaged position. These aren't examples of that.

Try again?

Posted by: BobN at January 31, 2011 3:33 PM

"I miss ACORN"


Posted by: Monique at February 1, 2011 6:49 PM
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