Rethinking our approach to education


To the Editor:

Our town is presently considering building a “state of the art” elementary school that will cost many millions in which our elected officials want feed back from residents. So what are the issues taxpayers should consider?

Of the industrialized countries in 2018, our country was ranked by Business Insider 38th in math and 24th in science. Fox News reported that nationally, 65 percent of fourth-graders are not proficient in reading and 67 percent of eighth-graders are not proficient in math. Nationally, our state ranks No. 41 in education.

In a series of articles that were published some years back in the Providence Journal Bulletin, “Teaching Times,” it was noted that private and religious education is less expensive and more effective than public education and that approximately half of Rhode Island public educators have their children in religious or private schools.

Common sense would tell you that school choice/vouchers would not only enhance academic outcomes but would also lower costs/taxation via competition. School choice would also address concerns parents have regarding sex ed, cultural diversity and social engineering/indoctrination. As for school bullying, that can be devastating for a child, it is much less in private and religious schools. Recently, it was reported on Fox News home schooling has increased from 850,000 in 1999 to 1.7million in 2016. Note: an amassing relatively new concept is referred to as “Virtual Education” in which students sit at their computers in an online classroom which reportedly is more effective.

When you divide the Johnston school budget of $57.2 million by 3,190 students it comes out to be $17,868 per student. However, the combined cost of private education of our state is $14,417 and religious is approximately $12,000. Because of union involvement we must also consider ever increasing taxation via endless provisions, early retirements, hefty pensions and continued paid healthcare upon retirement, as unions are bankrupting every state and local government across the country.

In closing, there are endless reforms that would unequivocally reduce our present $110 million budget by millions annually that privatization and regionalizing services would accomplish. As our infrastructures continue to crumble beneath us, lifelong Democrats need to open their eyes including empathic voters and demand more than lip service from our pro status-quo Democratic elected officials in which the party and the unions are one in the same.

Peter A. Filippi III



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