The Rhode Island school “system” is a lot like Rhode Island’s famous New York System – a lot of mystery-meat hot wieners on a griddle with a whole bunch of condiments and a “secret meat sauce” that somehow makes it desirable.
So many choices!
According to the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), “There are 66 public Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or districts in Rhode Island.” There are so many school superintendents that every year they give out a “Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year” award.
Montgomery County Maryland, which has about the same population as Rhode Island and more students has exactly one school district. Montgomery County has great schools and they’ve got shitty schools, but they don’t have more than 30 different bus contracts, school unions and school supply ordering departments.
Roller Coaster RIDE
Meanwhile, our solution to a “failing school system” (Providence) was to take away local power and give it to an ill-equipped RIDE, which has spent the last several years touting improvements, while producing close to zero in the way of actual results.
“Our strategy is to blame the city for what went wrong,” said RIDE spokesperson, Dr. Ima Freud, “And we take credit for everything else. So far nothing’s actually changed, so it’s a win-win. Oh, and we can also blame COVID.”
[Editor: Isn’t this supposed to be a satire column? Squid: Don’t you think this is funny?]
Meanwhile, some bright bulb on the Providence City Council decided that turning the paper tiger school board into a “partially elected” paper tiger school board would be a good idea.
Under the City Charter change proposal, half the school board would suck up to the mayor and the other half would depend on sucking up to the voters.
Soon-to-be-former Mayor Jorge Elorza vetoed the measure, but in a last minute vote, the City Council overrode it.
After voting “Yes,” Councilman John Goncalves said that, “injecting more politics into the school board is not a great idea.”
WAIT WAIT WAIT. This guy voted to make voters vote on a resolution to make voters vote for an elected school board while thinking that voting on this is not something he should vote for?
Yes, good readers, Goncalves did go to school in Providence. He must have missed the day they taught that voting “No” on a bad idea is a good idea.
We at the Squid’s Ink offer a different proposal…
Create a “Satan-Approved School Board.”
That’s right. According to the Bible, Lucifer “The Snake” Morningstar was the first regional school superintendent, and he knew how to get students interested in learning.
Rather than reading books, the Slithering One tempted Eve with the fruit of the tree of good and evil. Forget books, just eat an apple!
Then, the snake let Eve tempt Adam and the rest was history.
Literally that was the beginning of history, because in Eden nothing happened until they got kicked out and Cain formed the world’s first city… Which had a mayoral-appointed school board.
“Genesis is a textbook example of student-centered learning,” Educational Consultant De’mon S. Pawn told the Squid’s Ink. “You need to meet students where they are. Instead of fruit, we’ll substitute educational Dunkin Frozen Chocolates or Coolatas. And guys will still do anything to get laid.”
We wondered why the Lord of Hell was taking an interest in Providence, and the devil’s detailer had an answer.
“These days, so few people believe in good or evil, that it behooves the devil to improve public education. We know that old Nick* can get things done. We’ve got a five-thousand year marketing campaign. If we can’t get students to learn, no one can.”
Under the Satan’s proposal, candidates for school board will raise money to get themselves elected, offer empty promises, and be stymied by intricate contracts with unions and endemic under-funding.
[Editor: What’s the difference between that and the current proposal? Squid: Nothing. See… It is satire!]
Providence citizens will be able to vote on the proposed City Charter measure this month.
*Old Nick is not affiliated with former School Board President and known lobbyist Nick Hemond. Probably.
Sad to Say, Chip Chip Chipping Away
Chip Young passed away? Noooooo!
How do you say farewell to an institution? Chip was half of Motif’s… er The Providence Phoenix’s… er The Phoenix’s NewPaper… er The NewPaper’s, er The Eagle’s Phillipe and Jorge. Back when this squid was just a microbe, Chip gave us our first journalism job. Honestly, we were never quite sure whether he was Phillipe or Jorge. Perhaps that’s because P&J were the first transitional humans in New England. Long before wokeness awoke and political satire bowed to political correctness, these two wild and crazy guys were talking smack and taking hard and pelting highly accurate potshots from their thrones at Casa Diablo down on Rhode Island’s highest and mightiest. No politician, celebrity or media source was immune.
Chip was kind, generous, gregarious and quick with the nickname. (Yes, we’ve stolen the idea. One of our favorites has always been David “Little Chi Chi” Cicilline.)
Today, when you look out to the State Capital, and see the Independent Man standing high and proud, know that under that strategically draped loincloth, his staff is not fully erect. Its huge golden member is flying at half mast for Chip Young.