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January 18, 2016

Shipping R.I. decisions to D.C.

The language of Brookings Institution scholar Bruce Katz (no relation), whom Gov. Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island Foundation have invited into the state to offer consultation on economic development, might seem so close to some on the political right that casual news consumers would get the impression of substantial common ground.

Continue reading in the Providence Journal.

December 24, 2015

Calling R.I. Treasurer’s Pension Bluff

Rhode Island’s pension fund (mainly covering state employees and teachers) hasn’t been doing very well at the investment market’s poker table. According to a Dec. 16 article by Katherine Gregg (“R.I. pension fund sharply lags expectations again”), the $7.63 billion fund has seen only a 0.88 percent return on its investments during the calendar year now coming to a close. The pension system’s financial plan requires a 7.5 percent return every year.

Continue reading in the Providence Journal.

December 13, 2015

Accountability is what works in education

With the release of Rhode Island’s abysmal results on its first round of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests, the adults who ought to be held accountable for the travesty are out in force to redirect blame.

Continue reading in the Providence Journal.

November 3, 2015

State government makes Rhode Islanders’ lives less fulfilling

Rhode Island is stealing our opportunity to fulfill our potential and be self-sufficient. We’re becoming increasingly dependent on subsidies from government, jobs remain scarce, and the state’s latest programs are designed to make things worse.

Here’s one indicator of increasing dependency: From January 2007 to January 2010, the state added over 60,000 residents to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; “food stamps”). Over the next three years, nearly 50,000 more joined, bringing the total to nearly 181,000.

Continue reading in the Providence Journal.

June 1, 2015

How to interpret Pope Francis

What’s the deal with Pope Francis?

If you’re a Roman Catholic, you are obliged to believe that he’s the leader that God wants the Church to have right now. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, however, that does not mean every statement or action that he undertakes is infallible.

After all, people’s words and actions can have different consequences across the years than might seem probable while they’re happening. Think of Peter’s denial of Jesus. A pundit on the ground in ancient Jerusalem might have opined that Peter, the first pope, had all but killed the infant Church in the process of its messy birth. God had other plans.

Continue reading in the Providence Journal.

March 31, 2015

Choice that helps R.I. students

Even advocates for school choice have to admit that Rhode Island’s public school districts have a point when they complain about the financing of charter schools.

Charters are new public schools funded largely with taxpayer dollars, and not only do they take all of the state aid allocated for each student, but his or her home district has to send along a large chunk of local money. That money goes, as charter opponents put it, to build a duplicate education system.

Continue reading in the Providence Journal.