Rhode Island Schools Are Failing, Yet Progressive Coalition Wants To Spend $2.5 Billion On ‘Decarbonizing’ Education
“In 29 schools, students scored below 5% on math or English, and sometimes both.” Decarbonizing effort could cost $2.5 billion according to Cornell University researchers consulted on the proposal.
Math and English scores are way down in Rhode Island schools, but progressive groups are urging them to focus on the real problem. Addressing climate change.
It’s all about the children, right?
Alex Kuffner writes at the Providence Journal:
Environmental and labor groups call on RI to invest in greener schools
Rhode Island environmental and organized labor organizations are calling on state government to use an influx of federal funds to ensure that any plans to rebuild public schools also include the incorporation of solar power and other clean energy measures.
Climate Jobs Rhode Island, the coalition formed earlier this year between environmental advocates and labor leaders, announced a campaign Wednesday pushing for all public schools in the state to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.
Cornell University researchers working for the coalition tentatively estimate that attaining the goal would cost $2.5 billion, but that it would result in $35 million in annual energy savings and support more than 11,000 jobs over the next nine years.
Coalition members argue that the goal, though ambitious, is realistic given that $1.4 billion has been allocated to school construction in Rhode Island since voters approved $250 million in bonds in 2018 to rebuild school buildings.
They’re urging the state to tap COVID relief funds, money from the Biden administration’s infrastructure package that became law last month, and, if it passes Congress, Rhode Island’s share of the Build Back Better legislation. They also want another bond proposal equal to or greater than the one approved three years ago to be put before voters next year.
The Boston Globe adds:
A coalition of labor unions and environmental groups is calling for Rhode Island to tap federal and state funds to “decarbonize” public school buildings by shifting them from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources….
The coalition said the “Green and Healthy Schools” initiative would help Rhode Island meet the targets established in the newly enacted Act on Climate, which requires Rhode Island to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to achieve “net zero” emissions by 2050. Decarbonizing every public school in the state would eliminate 105,913 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, the group said….Priscilla De La Cruz, senior director of government affairs of Audubon Society of Rhode Island and co-chair of Climate Jobs Rhode Island, said school buildings across the state are powered by “dirty fossil fuels,” and it’s been decades since many were updated.“Building green and healthy schools — with a focus on targeting investments in communities of color on the front lines of climate change — can take action on climate change, create thousands of good union careers, and advance racial equity,” she said.
Professor Jacobson commented on Twitter:
— William A. Jacobson (@wajacobson) December 10, 2021
That Linda Borg article from the Providence Journal is just over a month old:
Why RI’s latest student test results are so bad. It’s not just COVID
In 2018, when Rhode Island’s student performance fell woefully short of Massachusetts, then-education Commissioner Ken Wagner called the test results “our truth-telling moment.”
Even when you factor in the disastrous impact of the pandemic on students, Rhode Island’s latest scores on the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment (RICAS) are distressing.
In 29 schools, students scored below 5% on math or English, and sometimes both.
Achievement First, a network of formerly high-performing charter schools in Providence, plummeted from 57% proficiency in math in 2019 to 16.5% today. Blackstone Valley Prep, another highly regarded mayoral charter school in northern Rhode Island, went from 50% proficient in math to 25% proficient…
While COVID-19 certainly accounted for much of the poor performance, with students learning remotely for a chunk of last year, it doesn’t tell the full story.
Rhode Island’s student performance, especially in math, has been languishing for years, despite countless hours of teacher training, new curricula and changes in leadership at the state level.
While Massachusetts, typically the highest-performing state in the U.S., began its school reform movement in the early 1990s and stayed the course, Rhode Island kept changing its mind about testing, standards and teacher evaluations.
The left puts their agenda above everything. Fighting climate change in schools should be secondary to teaching basic subjects like math and reading. You would think that’s just a given.
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