About That “Inspiring Environment”

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As Anchor Rising-Ocean State Current readers know, Governor Gina Raimondo’s budget for the upcoming year refinanced a bunch of state debt.  Simply refinancing would have save taxpayers millions upon millions of dollars; instead, the governor took the money up front (ultimately costing taxpayers additional money in financing costs) in order to plug it into big spending projects, mostly having to do with top-down economic development.

Whatever else these projects accomplish, they’ll give her opportunity for many positive-sounding announcements, with the first being the money going toward school buildings.  One line in a related Providence Journal article gets to the heart of the philosophical difference:

“We know our kids can’t learn in crumbling school buildings and that they must have access to a learning environment that inspires them to do their best,” Raimondo said in a news release announcing the authority’s launch.

Upon just a little bit of thought, I’m sure, most people would readily admit that there’s more to an inspiring learning environment than the condition of the surrounding building.  Many might go as far as to say that’s among the least important factors.

One, of course, is family structure.  And in this area, progressives like Raimondo tend to support anti-family policies, like welfare programs that replace stable homes with government checks, easy divorce, and the redefinition of marriage to remove the centrality of raising children.

Another is has been more on my mind in the past week or so, though.  Between welfare cliffs and tax-and-regulatory policies that make the ladder to success difficult to climb, there isn’t much to which to aspire.  Whatever a student’s grades, the government will take care of him or her, and the odds of success are getting smaller.  The vision of “making it if you try” that President Obama articulated in 2012 was a modest living with “a little vacation with your family once in a while — nothing fancy, but just time to spend with those you love.”

Add in progressives’ reflexive condemnation of successful people (as if success indicates cheating or theft), the cult of self esteem, and high-profile battles over whether it’s fair to have objective graduation standards, and the message we send to children is crystal clear.  Fortunate children have parents or other adult confidants who hold them to high standards and push them along, but that just brings us back around to progressive attacks on the family.



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