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Following the money

To the Editor:

Mayor Angel Taveras is adamant that Providence "needs" Achievement First. (Jan. 8 op-ed, ProJo). He and the mayors of Cranston and Warwick are all strongly in favor of charter schools, presenting good arguments for them. But what other unstated reasons might there be for their strong support of non-traditional, non-public schools?

Could it be the increased revenue stream they will be able to dip their hands into? Revenue diverted from those same public schools where it can't currently be touched, due to school committee policies and control? Could it be increased opportunities for placing their political supporters in lucrative patronage positions as administrators, on charter boards, or as teachers who don't have to meet the same certification requirements as in public schools? Could it be new spending opportunities which can go to their favored suppliers and supporters, without the "red tape" of the public purchasing system? In R.I., the money follows the student, and politicians follow the money.

Whenever I see a politician praising charter schools, seeking to divert students from the public school system, I reach around to see if my wallet is still there.

Joe Thompson
Former member, N.K. School Committee
North Kingstown

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