It was to be expected that even inadequate, sounds-good education reforms from Rhode Island’s General Assembly would come at a cost, as reported by the Providence Journal’s Linda Borg:
The Senate Finance Committee last month asked Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green what she would need to take on the new responsibilities included in this package of legislation, which, among other things, calls for instituting high-quality civics instruction, expanding world languages statewide, improving instruction for students with dyslexia and giving principals more authority.
“To fully support the requirements of these legislative priorities and to transform the department to focus more on supporting educators, students, and the community, RIDE needs additional expertise and capacity across a wide range of areas, such as implementing high-quality curriculum and supporting school leaders,” said Rhode Island Department of Education spokesman Pete Janhunen. “The request contains a list of proposed positions that align with the priorities of both the commissioner and the General Assembly.”
The ask is for $1.9 million, mostly to hire new personnel. One question remains unasked, however. If this is a “shift” in the nature of the department, are there no roles that no longer need to be filled?
This is another $1.9 million for the state’s education bureaucracy, so it can edge in on the territory of local decision makers. Actually, it’s fig-leaf spending and reorganizing in order to avoid addressing the actual problem: Our public schools have insufficient accountability and are structured for the benefit of the adults who work in them, rather than the children who attend them.
Until Rhode Islanders have had enough and are willing to force elected officials to address that problem, every proposed solution will amount to merely more or less wasted money and time.