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PVDJack

Economic Competitiveness

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From the Projo blog:

"Rhode Island ranks 41st among the 50 states in terms of economic competitiveness, according to a report released by a Massachusetts public policy research group."

The full report is available here:

http://www.beaconhill.org/

While I think it's a little questionable to have a Massachusetts research group, crown its home state #1, this is still a pretty sobering report for RI. Particularly troubling is that New Hampshire ranks #2 and Connecticut #20, while RI is #41. As businesses expand out from metro Boston, are we going to be able to compete?

PVDJack

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From the Projo blog:

"Rhode Island ranks 41st among the 50 states in terms of economic competitiveness, according to a report released by a Massachusetts public policy research group."

It doesn't surprise me. RI has high taxes and little resources. It has a high cost of living for adults and the worst public schools in the northeast, so there is no creation of skilled workforce. RI might be the worst state in the union to start a small business in. This is why the RIEDC has to sell their soul in making deals with companies.

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We need to be much more competetive.

To round out the NE scores: Vermont is 15th and Maine is 35th.

That article looks to be an interesting read.

Here are RI’s sub index scores; in order of rank, from best to worst.

Security rank: 3

Human Resources rank: 21

Technology rank: 21

Infrastructure rank: 28

Government and Fiscal Policy rank: 45

Business Incubation rank: 45

Environmental Policy rank: 45

Openness rank: 48

In of the complete report; table A1 on page 13 defeines the above subindices and page 55 has an even more detailed breakdown.

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We need to be much more competetive.

To round out the NE scores: Vermont is 15th and Maine is 35th.

That article looks to be an interesting read.

Here are RI

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A high level of per capita income is not neccessarily good for business development and growth. If anything, high per capita salaries are a negative for businesses. So this study is telling us where businesses have to compete the MOST for qualified workers and conditions (by paying high salaries, complying with stringent regualtions, etc), not telling us which states offer the best locales to successfully run a business in.

Per capita income for a state is good. Saying that it will be difficult for Rhode Island to sustain a high per capita income is not a compliment and does not mean that it is good for business. If per captia income goes down, Gross State Product goes down. It means our economy shrinks.

You are right that the survey isn't explicitly stating "this is where you should go to start a business" but what it is damn well saying is "here are the places that businesses want to go and get started."

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It doesn't surprise me. RI has high taxes and little resources. It has a high cost of living for adults and the worst public schools in the northeast, so there is no creation of skilled workforce. RI might be the worst state in the union to start a small business in. This is why the RIEDC has to sell their soul in making deals with companies.

I am not sure where you get your statement that RI has " the worst public schools in the northeast"...I know of no report, study, or evidence to that effect.

As to "high taxes and little resources. It has a high cost of living for adults ..."; yes it does BUT it's biggest challenge is the inferiority mentality that you so accurately display.

What is required is grand in scale and culturallly revolutionary in scope...a change of attitude. Every time I travel to Providence I hear the same old negative self-image of RIanders. Perhaps you all should take a few trips to other states and then decide if you want to stay there or return to RI.

Once RI sees it's great potential, challenges unions and old politics, and champions itself with action that makes a difference then it will be over in the top 30%.

By the way; do not trust much from Massachusetts sources.

Tampa FL

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I am not sure where you get your statement that RI has " the worst public schools in the northeast"...I know of no report, study, or evidence to that effect.

Unfortunately, I believe this has been pretty well established. I think there have been one or two studies released lately that show RI schools as the worst performing in New England and since, with the possible exception of MA, New England schools trail the Mid-Atlantic states on most tracking measures, that kinda makes us the worst in the Northeast :(. Sorry... I'll try to find the references.

Also, I know a lot of people in my workplace that have moved over the border just to send their kids to MA schools and many of my family members are teachers in the Northeast, and their "nothing at stake" impressions from educational circles, meetings, networking, etc is that RI schools are the most dysfunctional in the region. To make it worse, I think our teachers have the highest per capita pay, so it's not a money issue. Organization, standards, leadership, stability, and success building upon success is critical in education, and unfortunately, those have all been weaknesses in RI schools.

To a degree, perception is reality. Until RI starts to smoke some neighboring states on any indices and show some very public improvement, it's going to be a liability for the state economically.

- Garris

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I am not sure where you get your statement that RI has " the worst public schools in the northeast"...I know of no report, study, or evidence to that effect.

As to "high taxes and little resources. It has a high cost of living for adults ..."; yes it does BUT it's biggest challenge is the inferiority mentality that you so accurately display.

What is required is grand in scale and culturallly revolutionary in scope...a change of attitude. Every time I travel to Providence I hear the same old negative self-image of RIanders. Perhaps you all should take a few trips to other states and then decide if you want to stay there or return to RI.

Once RI sees it's great potential, challenges unions and old politics, and champions itself with action that makes a difference then it will be over in the top 30%.

This is a well-intentioned rant, I guess, but in the end you come to basically the same conclusion. RI has potential but also has several obstacles.

Also, I've lived in 3 countries and 5 U.S. states. I'm guessing I have a wider breadth of knowledge about the world outside RI than you do, so I'd thank you for not pushing forward a condescending argument based on a completely incorrect assumption. I'm not even a native of RI.

Is a change in attitude going to change the fact that RI schools, in general, do suck? They are ok in general from grades K-4 where the delineation between states is less pronounced, but above that they are bad. Yes, you can go to Barrington or East Greenwich or a few other select communities and still get a good education. It still doesn't compare to the best school systems in the surrounding states. This is not a RI self-lamentation. This is the well-documented opinion of every expert that weighs in on the subject, and if you believe in the NAEP, it is a well documented fact. In 2003, RI ranked 37th in the nation in NAEP combined scores both at 4th and 8th grade levels. Now, it's fine if you think the NAEP is worthless, and if you think that every expert in the field is wrong, but don't go around making your argument based on seeing no evidence. Google "RI education" "RI development", etc. You will find plenty of articles about the generally sorry state of the educational system.

FWIW, other NE rankings: MA 1, NH 3, VT 5, CT 10, ME 13, NJ 16, NY 21, PA 28, DE 29, MD 31. I stand by my statement.

Rather than tossing around ad hominem insults, it might be worth taking the time to actually think about an issue or at least do the first bit of research.

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Report: Rhode Island gets a 'C' on school quality

The state's lowest mark, a D, came in a category that assessed whether school resources are distributed equally across the state. Only four states received lower marks in this category than Rhode Island: Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and Idaho. The average score was a C.

Education Week <-Free registration through 02/04/06

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I am not sure where you get your statement that RI has " the worst public schools in the northeast"...I know of no report, study, or evidence to that effect.

As to "high taxes and little resources. It has a high cost of living for adults ..."; yes it does BUT it's biggest challenge is the inferiority mentality that you so accurately display.

What is required is grand in scale and culturallly revolutionary in scope...a change of attitude. Every time I travel to Providence I hear the same old negative self-image of RIanders. Perhaps you all should take a few trips to other states and then decide if you want to stay there or return to RI.

Once RI sees it's great potential, challenges unions and old politics, and champions itself with action that makes a difference then it will be over in the top 30%.

RI does have the worst public schools in at least new england, but probably a good portion of the northeast as well. it's been documented as others have mentioned. barrington and east greenwich are the only exceptions.

i don't consider it to be a super high cost of living here compared to MA or CT. at least as far as rents are concerned, to live in providence is a whole lot cheaper than living in new haven. hell, it's probably even cheaper than living in new london (i don't know what rents are like in new london for the record). and if you leave providence and the immediate neighboring towns, rents go down even more. it's even cheaper than some more remote parts of CT.

change of attitude here is important. a lot of people in the state are very much afraid of change, and when it does happen, they don't even notice how it benefits the state (for example the "never go to the city at night" mentality). i think it's funny how the smallest state has the hardest time overcoming some of these issues.

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Is a change in attitude going to change the fact that RI schools, in general, do suck? They are ok in general from grades K-4 where the delineation between states is less pronounced, but above that they are bad. Yes, you can go to Barrington or East Greenwich or a few other select communities and still get a good education. It still doesn't compare to the best school systems in the surrounding states. This is not a RI self-lamentation. This is the well-documented opinion of every expert that weighs in on the subject, and if you believe in the NAEP, it is a well documented fact. In 2003, RI ranked 37th in the nation in NAEP combined scores both at 4th and 8th grade levels. Now, it's fine if you think the NAEP is worthless, and if you think that every expert in the field is wrong, but don't go around making your argument based on seeing no evidence. Google "RI education" "RI development", etc. You will find plenty of articles about the generally sorry state of the educational system.

FWIW, other NE rankings: MA 1, NH 3, VT 5, CT 10, ME 13, NJ 16, NY 21, PA 28, DE 29, MD 31. I stand by my statement.

Brick - you're right. And Garris, you comment on knowing a lot of people moving just over the border to Mass. to send their kids to school is also correct, because I intend to be one of them. My wife and I are looking at Seekonk, maybe Rehoboth to relocate to because of this. We originally wanted to set down roots on Providence's East Side or potentially the Elmhurst area but the quality of the school system in Prov. was the deciding factor not to. And now, we're going to do it again because I have two elem. age school children and the Mass. public school system is simply better than R.I. at this time and that situation does not look to change anytime soon.

Brick - I did some research on the education problem in RI. This report from the Educational Partnership on the impact on collective barganing agreements on R.I. education is the best document I've ever read regarding the amount spent on education vs. the results. It offers recommendations that need to be implemented. I urge ANYONE interested in this issue to read this report in its' entireity:

http://www.edpartnership.org/failid/Contra...Report_2005.pdf

This report explains exactly what I was preaching at the local level for several years now - finally, a clear and consise report on the matter at hand!

The president, Valarie Forti, had a contributing editorial last week which led me to this report:

http://www.projo.com/opinion/contributors/...i.21c22fe1.html

I've had the oppurtunity (and misfortune, perhaps :wacko: ?) of participating/observing this issue in detail; After reading this article, you'll be able to get my name and my involvement in the process (hint: 3rd paragraph) from my username I use at UrbanPlanet:

http://www.projo.com/eastbay/content/projo...sc30.40083.html

There! Now I've done it...everyone knows who I am now. :cry: But seriously, I've worked through these issues for six years and know a lot about it. It's 2006 now so my term is up and I can move on. This will become a crisis if nothing is done about it and R.I. will fall further behind.

I hope everyone who has in interest in this educates themselves as much as possible. Feel free to ask me anything (or beat me up, as some here in Tiverton have done? :( )

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(or beat me up, as some here in Tiverton have done?)

We just want to beat you up because you live in Tiverton. :lol:

Education is really a crisis at so many levels in this state. The people running for Governor should really highlight this. I don't even have kids, but if a candidate came out with a strong plan to tackle education (K-through college) at a state-wide level, I'd listen (regardless of party).

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We just want to beat you up because you live in Tiverton. :lol:

That was a good one! :rofl: I needed that laugh after posting my response (not an easy thing to do), but it needed to be said. Seriously, download that PDF docuemnt and read it. It sums the education situation no other document I read ever has. Thanks.

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Contrary to popular belief, Barrington and East Greenwich are not the only places in RI where one can receive a good public education. There are plenty of schools throughout the state that perform well (including Classical HS in Providence).

Yet there are clearly problems at the district and state level. One factor the contributes to this mediocre performance is the fact that RI is comparatively urban in composition. Achieving high performance in poor urban districts is notoriously difficult here and elsewhere. Across the country urban districts are struggling in part because so much of their finances are tied up due to the very high costs of providing costly special education and ESL services. These districts are also disproportionately hit with unfunded mandates such as Leave No Child Behind. They must process an inordinate amout of paperwork using their own money simply to comply with these requirements. Also there are high infrastructure costs as many urban districts have aging physical plants.

Should teachers unions receive criticism for stifling innovation? Absolutely. But I think a lot of the blame for RI's poor performance rests on the politicians who maintain a regressive approach to funding education with local property taxes.

The biggest disappointment is Carcieri who has no education agenda whatsoever other than to propose funding cuts. He is much more interested in throwing bones to his corporate friends than dealing with the one issue that threatens the state's economic future. Garris put it well: what is needed is a Marshall Plan for public education in RI. Don't expect anything from the Governor, who has been completely AWOL in this department.

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Contrary to popular belief, Barrington and East Greenwich are not the only places in RI where one can receive a good public education. There are plenty of schools throughout the state that perform well (including Classical HS in Providence).

Yet there are clearly problems at the district and state level. One factor the contributes to this mediocre performance is the fact that RI is comparatively urban in composition. Achieving high performance in poor urban districts is notoriously difficult here and elsewhere. Across the country urban districts are struggling in part because so much of their finances are tied up due to the very high costs of providing costly special education and ESL services. These districts are also disproportionately hit with unfunded mandates such as Leave No Child Behind. They must process an inordinate amout of paperwork using their own money simply to comply with these requirements. Also there are high infrastructure costs as many urban districts have aging physical plants.

having a good school here or there that performs well does not do much for the state when the rest of the district performs poorly. classical high school is a bad example because students are required to pass an entrance exam. of course it performs well if it only accepts students who meet certain academic standards. while it is a public school and funded by tax dollars, it doesn't represent your standard public school that will accept anyone regardless of academic ability.

barrington and east greenwich have good school districts where the entire district performs well. in fact, i believe barrington high school is the top high school in the state (for both public and private high schools).

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having a good school here or there that performs well does not do much for the state when the rest of the district performs poorly. classical high school is a bad example because students are required to pass an entrance exam. of course it performs well if it only accepts students who meet certain academic standards. while it is a public school and funded by tax dollars, it doesn't represent your standard public school that will accept anyone regardless of academic ability.

barrington and east greenwich have good school districts where the entire district performs well. in fact, i believe barrington high school is the top high school in the state (for both public and private high schools).

You totally missed my point. I differentiated individual schools such as Classical and districts/statewide toward the beginning of my post. Of course Barrington and E Greenwich test well given their socio-economic make-up while Providence doesn't because of the inordinately high costs of educating a completely different student body.

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You totally missed my point. I differentiated individual schools such as Classical and districts/statewide toward the beginning of my post. Of course Barrington and E Greenwich test well given their socio-economic make-up while Providence doesn't because of the inordinately high costs of educating a completely different student body.

but the problem is, when the state dishes out money to school districts, it goes to the whole district. when the governing bodies (whether it's the NEA, the federal department of education, or the state dept of education) look at performances, they look at whole districts. as a whole, providence performs very poorly, as does most of the rest of RI. they don't look at individual schools, especially private schools because not everyone can afford to move to a new place and afforde private schooling.

yes, there are good schools in RI, i don't think anyone said there weren't. but what if your child doesn't get accepted to classical and ends up at hope high? there's a problem there. there's even problems in elementary schools. i know people who have student taught at robert kennedy on eaton st. they said the student will swear at the teachers, and it's not even in a "bad" area.

so the state needs to pay more attention at getting entire districts to perform better rather than having 1 or 2 standouts and a couple of individual schools standout.

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My point was that RI's way of funding education primarily through local property taxes magnifies inequities and discrepancies in performace between districts and that the governor and the general assembly have done nothing to correct this.

The point about there being schools outside of affluent suburbs was in response to the refrain I hear over and over again: public schools in Providence suck. There ARE exceptions and they deserve to be recognized.

but the problem is, when the state dishes out money to school districts, it goes to the whole district. when the governing bodies (whether it's the NEA, the federal department of education, or the state dept of education) look at performances, they look at whole districts. as a whole, providence performs very poorly, as does most of the rest of RI. they don't look at individual schools, especially private schools because not everyone can afford to move to a new place and afforde private schooling.

yes, there are good schools in RI, i don't think anyone said there weren't. but what if your child doesn't get accepted to classical and ends up at hope high? there's a problem there. there's even problems in elementary schools. i know people who have student taught at robert kennedy on eaton st. they said the student will swear at the teachers, and it's not even in a "bad" area.

so the state needs to pay more attention at getting entire districts to perform better rather than having 1 or 2 standouts and a couple of individual schools standout.

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My point was that RI's way of funding education primarily through local property taxes magnifies inequities and discrepancies in performace between districts and that the governor and the general assembly have done nothing to correct this.

The point about there being schools outside of affluent suburbs was in response to the refrain I hear over and over again: public schools in Providence suck. There ARE exceptions and they deserve to be recognized.

property taxes aren't a good way to fund anything... besides, aren't providence's property taxes higher than most of the other cities and towns in the state?

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property taxes aren't a good way to fund anything... besides, aren't providence's property taxes higher than most of the other cities and towns in the state?

Some states have successfully moved away from the reliance on property taxes including Michigan.

Yes, Providence has high property taxes. Shifting more of the funding of education to the state as opposed to the municipal level could result in them being lowered significantly.

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Some states have successfully moved away from the reliance on property taxes including Michigan.

A number of states have recently found relying on property taxes to be unconstitutional (according to the states' constitution), including *I think* TX, NH, and VT.

Do you think the mayor has been lurking in this thread? :whistling:

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I wish the Mayor the best of luck. Unfortunately, Carcieri counts his votes in the suburbs and has turned a deaf ear to the needs of the state's urban districts.

What may eventually change things is that the suburban districts are also finding that relying so heavily on property taxes has proved inadequate. Devastating funding cuts that used to affect poor urban kids (whose needs society generally chooses to ignore) are now starting to happen there too.

People are also starting to see how local school funding fuels sprawl. When a town needs money for schools and has limited political will to increase property taxes on voting homeowners, it can instead encourage development by luring deep-pocketed retailers like Wal-Mart which can fill the town's coffers with tax dollars.

A number of states have recently found relying on property taxes to be unconstitutional (according to the states' constitution), including *I think* TX, NH, and VT.

Do you think the mayor has been lurking in this thread? :whistling:

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I post this without yet having read MikeR's links (which look excellent, I just don't have the time tonight), but there are a couple of things...

First, it's not just that we have a high burden of urban education. NY doesn't have this? NJ doesn't have this? DC doesn't have this? Even here in RI, I've read that Barrington and East Greenwich, our two "sterling examples," pretty much underperform compared to their socioeconomic equivalents in other Northeastern states, so it's not just about urban vs suburban.

Also, funding methods do matter at one level, but it isn't in my mind the be all and end all. There are lots of states that have excellent education systems that fund them by property taxes...

As all my family members in education tell me, there are several key factors to an excellent school system:

- Setting high statewide standards for students... (probably the most important)

- A commitment to hiring teachers with high qualifications without compromise and encouraging/mandating continuing education for those teachers...

- Leaders with cajones who aren't afraid of parents and lawsuits to enforce those student and teacher standards...

- Community buy-in to those standards (no moaning about Jimmy having too much homework or fighting Suzie getting left behind because she failed 5/6 classes)...

These kinds of changes don't come from the grass roots. Parents who care in RI are either going to move to MA or send their kids to private or parochial schools, not have their kids experimented on in RI while changes are being made. Therefore, the state has to do this from the top down for its own economic competitiveness and future.

How much do you think we loose in dollars and community involvement and investment by people leaving RI for nearby MA communities with better schools?

- Garris

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First, it's not just that we have a high burden of urban education. NY doesn't have this? NJ doesn't have this? DC doesn't have this?

I'm not sure I follow. You're not suggesting that DC's schools are doing well despite being urban, are you?

As for the other examples, RI has significantly lower per capita income than NY, NJ, or for that matter, CT or MA. I'm not saying that the problems of education in RI are solely tied to the state's urban and poor composition, but that this explains some of RI's lagging performance compared to its much more affluent neighbors.

In any case, I have to disagree that the state's reliance on local property tax isn't a problem. I find it pretty sickening that a child is East Greenwich and a child in South Providence have such different resources. If funding were centralized, this would have a major effect in leveling the playing field.

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Gee. What a statement! I live in RI and send my kids to public school. You're telling me and thousands of other parents in RI that we don't care about our kids' education? You are quite mistaken. We care deeply.

Parents who care in RI are either going to move to MA or send their kids to private or parochial schools, not have their kids experimented on in RI while changes are being made.

- Garris

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