Newsflash: You may be a second class citizen

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The Providence Journal reported late last week that

a group of mayors and town administrators, led by Cumberland Mayor Daniel J. McKee, announced yesterday the launch of plans for a novel kind of public charter school.

The mayors hope their proposed Rhode Island Mayoral Academies, free from many of the rules and restrictions of regular public schools, will spread through the state as a new educational model.

Unlike the state’s existing 11 charter schools, mayoral academies would not have to pay teachers a prevailing wage, contribute to the state teachers retirement system or offer teachers tenure protection. These freedoms would allow the academies greater control over school budgets, culture and personnel, and enable them to attract — and pay for — top teaching talent, McKee said.

The response from the teachers unions was not pretty.

“I would be very worried about how these schools are run,” said Larry Purtill, president of National Education Association Rhode Island. “We would see more charter schools where you don’t have to pay a fair wage or quality health care.”

But the response from Marcia Reback, president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, was a really great insight into some odd thinking.

“I don’t think teachers should be treated as second-class citizens,” Reback said.

But of course the continuing failure of district public schools does not amount to treating thousands of kids, who cannot afford to move to suburban districts, as second class citizens?

File under: People who do not possess a mirror.