Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No Sticks Left to Throw


Rhode Island is not (on the list of probable first round Race to the Top applicants), probably indicating that State Supe Deborah Gist is working to do it right (with regard to detailing her aggressive reform agenda in a few hundred pages of prose).

I heard on WRNI this morning that she may propose a funding formula for state education aid next month (we're the only state without one, iirc), so perhaps she wants to get that in first as well. That will be interesting because it is not something she can just issue an edict about and wait for the congratulatory op-eds to pour in.

I have no insight (whatsoever!) into what the Rhode Island teachers' unions are thinking about RttT, but imho, they have some incentive to play hard to get. The application needs their agreement, but the state and local governments are already attacking with everything they've got across a broad front. I don't think administration has anything in reserve. What's the governor going to do, threaten to order districts to reopen their teacher contracts and give everyone a 3% pay cut? Oh wait:

But Carcieri’s plan to cut about $40 million between now and June from the state’s 38 school districts, 13 charter schools and 3 state-run schools is more than a budget reduction — it’s a message to Rhode Island’s 14,600 public school teachers. Put simply, Carcieri wants teachers to take the same 3-percent pay cut that state workers accepted earlier this year, and he wants their pension plans reduced...

Carcieri said he wants teachers to make the same sacrifice state workers are making. He wants every district to reopen teacher contracts and get the unions to agree to salary reductions...

I'm not sure "Oh noes, we might get some bad PR," is really going to scare the unions at this point. They're fighting for their life now.

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