Rhode Island Politics and Government

By Maureen Moakley; Elmer Cornwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
The Politics of Education

[I]t shall be the duty of the general assembly to promote public schools and public libraries, and to adopt all means which it may deem necessary and proper to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education and public library services.

Article XII, section 1, Rhode Island Constitution

I don't blame the teachers and the teachers unions for all the wrongs in the public schools…. I do blame them for refusing to be part of the solution.

House Majority Leader George Caroulo, during a 1998 floor debate on charter schools

Elementary and secondary education is a vital service. 1 Though most education concerns have traditionally focused on local communities, as the link between the quality of public education and a growing technological economy becomes clearer, policymakers, educators, and politicians statewide are working toward reform. Education policy is one of the critical issues facing the state, and the intersection between state and local politics make it an ideal policy case.

The core issues relate to promoting a quality education for all public school students, grappling with the escalating costs of public education, and monitoring problems related to education standards and performance. Significant obstacles include an over-reliance on local property taxes for funding, bureaucratic inertia related to the strong Rhode Island tradition of local control and accountability, and personnel and policy mandates promoted by the powerful teachers unions. Reforms initiated in the late 1990s, however, suggest that policies and priorities—increasingly mandated by state government—have the potential to produce a more effective system.

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Rhode Island Politics and Government
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Series Preface xi
  • Authors' Preface xiii
  • Rhode Island Politics and Government *
  • Chapter One - Rhode Island in Transition 1
  • Chapter Two - Political Culture in the Ocean State 19
  • Chapter Three - Rhode Island and the Federal System 36
  • Chapter Four - The Constitution 50
  • Chapter Five - The General Assembly 65
  • Chapter Six - The Executive and the Administration 84
  • Chapter Seven - The Courts 108
  • Chapter Eight - Political Parties 125
  • Chapter Nine - Interest and Group Representation 144
  • Chapter Ten - Budget Politics and Policy 163
  • Chapter Eleven - The Politics of Education 178
  • Chapter Twelve - Local Government 196
  • Epilogue 213
  • General Resources 219
  • Notes 225
  • Index 241
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