This January I froze my feet in Kennedy Plaza as Mayor Taveras was sworn in. Much of his Inaugural speech was devoted to promises to promote public education. From ProJo.com, which published a complete transcript…
Let me be clear: the time for Providence to take control of its
financial future is now.
At the same time, we struggle with the development of our most
precious resource: our children. Many of our public schools are
under-performing. In this era, when even the most basic jobs require
advanced skills, far too many of our children aren’t even graduating
from high school.
More than half of our students are not proficient in reading and more
than three quarters of our students are not proficient in math. It is
unacceptable – and unconscionable – that we provide anything less
than the absolute best: a college ready education for every single child
in this city, regardless of family income, regardless of skin color,
regardless of zip-code.
Let me be clear again: the time for Providence schools to become the
envy of American urban education is now.
In the face of all these challenges, and in the midst of this storm, I
am confident. Confident that together, we will overcome these
challenges, weather this storm and strengthen our city and our state.
Getting through this storm and solving the problems we confront
will not be easy. But have no doubt, this storm shall pass, we will
succeed and we will move our City and our State forward.
To weather this storm we must recognize that our fiscal situation is
unsustainable. We must, once and for all, eliminate the structural
deficit that year after year burdens our budget. Like any family or
business in America, we simply cannot spend what we do not have
and politicians cannot promise what taxpayers cannot afford for us to
We must be forthright and transparent in addressing our city’s
• I will ask all of us for shared sacrifice to solve our
financial problems. And it will start right here, in this building
with the executive branch.
• We have already begun to consolidate departments and
we will seek more opportunities to eliminate redundancies, save
on costs and improve services. Every department will be
charged with finding savings in their budget and making
government leaner, more nimble and more efficient. We will
lead by example.
• We will urge our institutions of higher learning and health
care – who bring a vibrancy to our city that cannot be
overstated – to continue to invest in their own future by
investing in our City and helping us weather this storm.
• We will invite the backbone of our city, our city workers
– who day after day serve this city in ways too numerous to
count – to partner with us in addressing our long term financial
• We will invite our neighboring cities and towns to work
together to jointly lower our costs by regionalizing services
where we can.
• And we will invite all of you to get involved in our City
by volunteering in our schools and community centers, by
supporting our community development corporations, and by
serving on boards and commissions.
If we commit ourselves to this notion of shared sacrifice, we can
weather this storm and put our city on solid financial footing.
Today all of the Providence public school teachers recieved layoff notices. The Taveras administration is claiming this is a legality to allow maximum flexibility in hiring. It’s hard to imagine anything more discouraging to the many good teachers in the system, who find their jobs in question in a mass action.
What will we be looking at in September?
ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Friend Wilma has a link to Meredith who got this on an email– a funny comparison of wages– teachers vs babysitters. If you think teachers are the better deal you guessed right.