Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 04-07-2021

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 OPINION APRIL 7-13, 2021 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION Why is it that some educational leaders seem hell-bent on casting such a noble profession in such a poor light? First, we had the spectacle of the union honchos in the National Education Association elbowing elderly and disabled folks out of the way so they could get the COVID-19 vaccine shots, notwithstanding the science that schools are not the hot- beds of infection. Further, talking out of one side of its mouth the union fought tooth and nail to maintain remote learning so the edu- cators could stay home. Then, we have the spec- tacle of legislator Valerie Lawson, an NEA staff member pushing pro-teach- er legislation, which would allow retirees to work up to 120 days as substitutes without impacting one's pension. She and her other teacher legislative col- leagues are looking to have early retirement breaks like less time to qualify for a pension boost and for early retirement by age 60 after 30 years. Further, teacher members of the General Assembly are promoting the reinstate- ment of Cost of Living Adjustments despite the fact that the state retirement fund for them is slightly over 52 percent funded and for state workers only 54.2 percent funded. Even as it is, taxpayers must cough up $488.4 million to fund the pension this year and $513.7 million next year. This money grab is being done at a time when Rhode Island's unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation at 7.3 percent as of Feb. 21. A casual visit to downtown Providence elicits the impression of a ghost town with business and retail vacancies pock- marking the streets. To add insult to injury, the unions are mount- ing an assault on charter schools. The R.I. Senate already capitulated to passing legislation that results in the three-year moratorium for charter schools, even for some that had been approved by the state Department of Education. It is malfea- sance of the highest order for the Democratic party, which parades around like the savior of the "poor" to confine low-income and students of color to a dis- mal education. Providence, which was described as an "educational horror show" in a study, now has its teacher union leader wanting to abort the state takeover of the system. Poor children do not have the resources to move to another system. Any abject phoniness of Democrats may soon be in evidence in the R.I. House of Representatives if they vote for the moratorium. Fortunately, Gov. Dan McKee has maintained his well-reasoned support for charter schools. Kudos to him for standing up to the trampling of academic suc- cess for low-income chil- dren. Gov. McKee correctly notes that an additional $400 million for public education is coming from the federal government so the lament of "taking money away from the regu- lar schools" is laughable. Meanwhile, in Barrington, the educational pooh-bahs have decided to "delevel" education in the high school and not offer honor courses. This decision was made without input of or explanation to parents. An alleged study supports the concept of "deleveling" where students of various skill levels are integrated. The study is under wraps and is being guarded like a state secret. Share the study for heaven's sake with the parents. Leaders: Stop these uned- ucated forays. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. Self-inflicted wounds by some educators I remember it like yester- day. About 35 years ago, I was living and working in western Massachusetts and had just started dating my wife. We were attending her family's annual summer reunion. I was sitting at a picnic strug- gling to pay attention to her grandmother, who was regal- ing the few who were within earshot of her great experi- ences "in the city" some decades ago. When done, she sighed heavily and said, "Oh, how I would love to go back there. I so enjoy the city." Time to score points. This Flushing-born tri-state boy- friend jumps right in. "Nana, I know New York like the back of my hand. I'd be happy to take you there anytime you want to go." Puzzled, she asked, "Why?" I said, obviously, "Well you just said you love the city and I was born there and know it very well. Really, I'll take you down anytime you want, it's only a couple hours' drive." "New York? I have no inter- est in going to New York." Defeated, I admitted confu- sion. She flatly responded. "I was talking about Springfield." Now, understand, Nana lived in Agawam. Her front door was just 5 miles from downtown. A once-in-a-lifetime funny moment. Fast forward to 21 years ago. We were moving to Rhode Island and at the end of a long day of house shopping across the state, we popped into an East Greenwich phar- macy to cure the headache, and while on the check-out line, two guys were catching up. "Hey man, what you been up to?" "Not much. Got to go up to Providence for a contract job. I hate going all the way up there." "Providence? Man, I hate that place. Haven't been up there in 20 years." OK, so it's not 5 miles, maybe it's 15. But the difference in the second story was striking. Clearly those guys had a pal- pable disdain for the capital city. For two decades on the radio, I've heard it over and over again. This time, the subject is the airport. A new renaming bill from the Rhode Island Airport Corporation proposes "Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport." Convinced that the city is the more recognizable desti- nation, state Rep. Charlene Lima last week countered with "Providence/Warwick T.F. Green International Airport." (I think I convinced her to cut out Warwick and go with "Providence T.F. Green Airport.") The competing correct con- tention is that "Providence" is the most recognized loca- tion. All other top airports in the country are named for the metro city of service. It's not even an argument. But I am certain that this marketing idea to rename the airport for Rhode Island is in part a ruse to hide the truth that in this tiny state, we are damagingly provin- cial. Notwithstanding the res- taurants, the fun of a Friar game or a summer night's Waterfire, there is a com- plicated dynamic of ill will and social economic bias for Providence. Who are we trying to influ- ence with this name change? If we are saying to the world, "Hey come fly here" for convenience or fun, then Providence is the clear name choice. The pilots and the fli- ers already know it by code as "PVD," and the current website is PVDAirport.com It seems we are saying, "Hey, we have internal prob- lems and we don't really like our capital city" and in order to feel better, we are selling a state name that too many don't know and some people think is Long Island. The two guys at the phar- macy will be satisfied. But I bet Nana would know the right choice. Dan Yorke is the PM Drive Host on 99.7/AM 630 WPRO, Dan Yorke State of Mind weekends on MyRITV/Fox Providence and owns communications/crisis con- sulting firm DYCOMM LLC. T.F. Green name debate shows just how provincial we are DAN YORKE Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET Founded in 1956 by The Burgess Family Volume XXIII, Number 36 April 7, 2021 valleybreeze.com @ Breeze THE NORTH PROVIDENCE ABOUT US The Valley Breeze Newspapers are a locally operated group of free weekly newspapers serving the people of Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Woonsocket, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster, Glocester, North Providence, Pawtucket, R.I., and Blackstone, Mass. Each Thursday, 58,500+ copies are distributed to retailers, banks, offices, and restaurants and other busy spots. Circulation is audited by the Circulation Verification Council of St. Louis, Mo. and has earned its "Gold Standard Award." OUR MISSION It is the Mission of The Valley Breeze to facilitate a positive sense of community among the res- idents of Northern Rhode Island by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas, and to provide information of local events and neighbors. It is our further Mission to provide the highest quality advertising at the lowest possible cost to retailers, professionals, tradespersons, and other service providers in order to enhance the economic well-being of our community. James Quinn, Publisher jquinn@valleybreeze.com Jack Birolini, Director of Sales jack@valleybreeze.com Ethan Shorey, Editor-in-Chief ethan@valleybreeze.com Barbara Phinney, Controller accounting@valleybreeze.com

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