Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 04-12-2018

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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18 OPINION APRIL 12-18, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION Why is it that every time the educational system fails, it lowers the bar rath- er than the professionals rising up to the occasion? Here is the latest exam- ple. The Community College of Rhode Island has an internal memo that warns that the overwhelm- ing majority of its students – that is 87 percent of them, many of whom have received free tuition at taxpayer expense through Gov. Gina Raimondo's Promise Scholarship Program – will not gradu- ate in the two years allot- ted to them. The proposed solution? Lower the stan- dards from a 2.5 GPA, in this case, halfway between B and C grades, to 2.0 (a C average). That solution is a Band- Aid where a tourniquet is required. Because of the union strength with the Democratic leadership in Rhode Island, it appears that nobody has the intes- tinal fortitude to critique and change the K-12 edu- cational system. Far too many students are passed from grade to grade with- out the math, science and language skills necessary to succeed in higher educa- tion. If the teachers' unions spent as much time trying to change the curriculum and delivery of its stan- dards as it does to mask the failures by fighting the administration of objective tests, all students would be far better off. Attention to the "output" of informed students into a college must be the number 1 reform. Instead, students who go to CCRI after high school often need remedial help because they are allowed to "skate" in high school. It's almost like a conspiracy of interests where they per- form low and far too many teachers aren't challenged to investigate their teach- ing skills. The result is that CCRI has about the same failure rate to complete a degree as it did a decade ago. The remainder of the student body are adults who work full time and often have families. It is ludicrous to insist on 30 credits a year as a standard because nobody knows how to come up with a 25-hour day for those hold- ing down one or two jobs. Rather than lower the GPA requirement, the credit requirement maximum should be altered. As long as a student maintains at least a 2.5 GPA , then the money should follow the course(s) rather than an artificial deadline of two years. In four-year colleges, for example, the accredi- tation measure of a suc- cessful university requires graduation in six, not four years. Perhaps three years to finish for working students should be consid- ered. Without a serious revamp of the curriculum and its delivery across the board, the Promise Scholarship should not be renewed. Rather than "dumbing down" the GPA require- ments, a reasonable time for completion of course work, especially for full- time working students, needs to be adjusted. Educators need to "step up" and examine how they teach students by focusing in on the students' educa- tional style, needs, and pas- sion to learn. Right now, money is being dumped into the junior college with pitiful results. Since 1978, whatever iteration it was called then – like the Economic Development Corporation to today's Commerce Corporation – each has documented the failure of students for successful preparation for the work- place. With this new data from CCRI, efforts should be doubled to revamp the whole approach to educa- tion. Right now it's like shoving every student's educational "foot" into a Cinderella shoe where the fairy tale continues but the outcome is anything but happily ever after. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. The tyranny of low expectations in education Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET 'Sin tax' dependence by R.I. disappointing I know this sounds a bit melodramatic, but it's pretty heartbreaking to see society's problems piling up, and gov- ernments going to any length to keep the money flowing, no matter what the harm to the greater good. Consider "sin taxes." When I was a kid, there were taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. Gambling was limited to the parish bingo and your local bookie. Marijuana was bad for you. Today, nobody will use the term "sin taxes" anymore because barely anything is considered "sinful" in the modern world. We still sin, but call them "personal choices" now. No judgmentalism allowed, lest you be labeled a hater. But these taxes, the taxes that take advantage of our addictions or interests, are growing. Cigarette taxes used to be measured in pennies. Now it's dollars. Alcohol, too. Bingo gave way to the lottery and casinos. Next, we will pay for legalized recreational mari- juana in nearby Massachusetts. We will be in more danger from impaired people. Then there's sports betting. In both cases – marijuana and sports betting – the saying goes "we do it anyway," so why not have the state get its cut? Oh, I don't know ... how about because placing a sports bet (or any bet) when you haven't yet bought your fam- ily groceries is wrong? Or how about when you show up to work stoned you're endangering yourself and your fellow man? Do our represen- tatives care about how all this might harm families? They don't seem to. They need the money. It's all so disappointing. Great job on the roads! I can't thank enough all of the volunteers – perhaps 150- 200 in all – who rose to the challenge of working on a cold day Saturday to clean litter from our roadsides during this newspaper's Yellow Bag Day in Cumberland and Lincoln. It was our most successful clean- up day ever! There was help from many, many corners, but a special hat top goes to Boy Scout Troop 1 Diamond Hill. With Asst. Scoutmaster Steven Lane, he and others were able to form several teams – 40 persons in all – and spread them out to some of the most high profile, but dirtiest, parts of town. Those included near Diamond Hill Park, the I-295 interchanges at Mendon and Diamond Hill roads, and finally, when he had even more volunteers, Pine Swamp Road. I hope you were one of the many town residents who drove down Pine Swamp and noticed the dozens of bags filled with trash. The differ- ence there was startling! Then there was Councilor Ken Pichette's teams in Manville. Along with volun- teers from Navigant Credit Union and Troop 1 Manville, many spots were tidied up around the village. So first, I thank all of those who participated, includ- ing the many Girl Scouts, Cumberland Hill and Berkeley-Ashton Scouts, the Cumberland Lions Club, and smaller groups of families and friends. Second, may I remind everyone to stop littering? The foam coffee cups and paper bags, the plastic shopping bags, and finally, the "nips" of booze and beer cans? Can we all make a little more effort to keep our trash in the car until we get home, and then junk it properly? Really, it's not that hard! Please don't be a slob! And finally, a reminder: I choose to sponsor Yellow Bag Day a bit early, before the green shoots of grass pop up and hide the mess. Soon, it will be Earth Day. If you couldn't help this past week- end, please look for one of the many Earth Day events in your community, and pitch in. A few include: • April 21 – Town of Smithfield Earth Day Clean- up at Deerfield Park or the Great Pawtucket Clean Up. There's also the Burrillville Lions Earth Day Cleanup. • April 28 – North Smithfield hosts its 16th annu- al Clean & Green Day from Halliwell School. • May 5 – There's a Pride In Pawtucket cleanup, and Woonsocket's Oak Grove neighborhood cleanup. There are others, too. Ask around, and join the fun! Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze newspapers From the Publisher TOM WARD ABOUT US The Valley Breeze Newspapers are a locally owned and operated group of free weekly newspa- pers serving the people of Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Woonsocket, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster, Glocester, North Providence, Pawtucket, R.I., and Blackstone, Mass. Each Thursday, 60,000+ 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. Thomas V. Ward, Publisher James Quinn, Deputy Publisher Ethan Shorey, Managing Editor Doug Fabian, General Sales Manager Barbara Phinney, Controller Volume XXIII, Number 3 April 12, 2018 @ Breeze THE VALLEY

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