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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Noted national education expert spotlights criticism of Raimondo’s back-to-school push


North Smithfield Public Schools - Super's Blog
Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'Robert Reich @RBReich The school attended by Trump's son, Barron, will not reopen in September to protect students from Covid-19 Meanwhile, Trump is pushing for schools to reopen, despite the concerns of public health experts. All children should be protected from the virus, not only rich kids.'
The Providence Journal published a scathing editorial about Governor Gina Raimondo’s dereliction of duty in demanding the full opening of schools next month while failing to provide sensible plans to do so.

It is titled “Rhode Island’s Education System Goes from Mediocre to Just Plain Chaotic.”

Raimondo is a former venture capitalist who redesigned the state’s pension system by cutting them. She is also a “reformer” who welcomes charter schools and is a favorite of DFER. And she is chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

The editorial begins:


On June 10, Governor Gina Raimondo asserted that all students would be back in the classroom on August 31.

This was after her confusing narrative that Rhode Island was “#1 in online learning,” a claim that sends chills through frustrated parents, educators, and students who knew another reality this spring.
Raimondo nearly every day proclaims Rhode Island is #1 at something, but the reality is that Rhode Island may only be #1 in ridiculous claims of being #1.

No state is #1 in this pandemic and certainly, neither this state nor any other are winning anything — it is all different degrees of losing.

Raimondo is not responsible for the disease and she has made a number of solid decisions, but also some major errors. The decision to return infected hospitalized nursing home patients to nursing homes caused the additional unnecessary spread and deaths. This helped drive Rhode Islands’s per capita death rate to be the 5th highest in the United States.

As part of her Trump-like doctrine to return to schools, she ordered all of the school districts to develop “their own” plan for returning to the classroom.

This chaotic approach of asking beaten down administrators and faculty to develop their own plans with little support has been an exercise in futility and frustration. Doesn’t the state have the expertise on the disease?

One would hope the state’s consultants – paid millions via a no-bid contract – would have more expertise on best practices than a principal in Exeter-West Greenwich does on how to design a safe school environment to protect children and faculty.

Diane RavitchI am a historian of education and Research Professor of Education at New York University. I was born in Houston, Texas, attended the Houston public schools from kindergarten through high school, and graduated from Wellesley College in 1960. I received my Ph.D. in the history of American education in 1975.
I am the mother of two sons. They went to private schools in New York City. I have four grandsons: two went to religious schools, the third goes to public school in New York City, and the fourth will go to the same wonderful public school in Brooklyn. I live in Brooklyn, New York.