State of the States
Ocean State Executive Offers Sweeping School Policy Vision
While boasting of recent improvements in student performance in his state, Rhode Island Gov. Donald L. Carcieri used his fifth State of the State address to call for sweeping policy changes to make further progress.
In the Jan. 30 speech, he said he would form a group including business, labor, and political leaders to craft a 21st Century Education Plan focusing on school finance, teacher quality and compensation, and urban schools.
“The state needs to drive this effort on a new, more coordinated basis,” said the second-term Republican.
On finance, Mr. Carcieri said the group must find a way to control spending on special education, and he urged districts to collaborate in purchasing to bring down costs. He also said he’d consider a statewide teachers’ contract.
To improve teaching, Gov. Carcieri said the state needs new systems to evaluate educators, reward good performance, and provide professional support. “We need to have our best teachers working where the needs are highest,” he said.
A key to helping city schools, the governor said, is greater statewide agreement on how to teach English-language learners, and he said he favored what he called “total immersion,” as the quickest way to boost skills.
Mr. Carcieri also announced a new partnership in which the University of Rhode Island would help restructure a struggling high school in Central Falls. And he called for lifting a moratorium on new charter schools in the state.
“We owe it to these children to provide that opportunity,” he said.
Vol. 26, Issue 22, Page 17