On Rhode Island Charter School Expansion

The Brown Daily Herald:

Governor Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 elicited concern from charter school supporters when he announced last month that he would take a “thoughtful pause” before expanding the state’s charter schools. The governor made waves again earlier this month when he shook up the state’s Board of Regents, which helps oversee Rhode Island’s public schools. Given the importance of public education, we took a pause of our own to consider these changes.
Former state House Majority Leader George Caruolo will take over the chairmanship of the Board of Regents from former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders Jr. ’71. Flanders, along with several other board members Chafee replaced, supports Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. Teachers’ unions are often at odds with Gist, especially over her support for charter schools, and how well Chafee will work out his disagreements with the commissioner is a looming question. Caruolo is known as an effective politician. We hope he puts his skill to use, shaping conflicts between Chafee and Gist into compromised agreements to take action, not discord-fueled gridlock.