December 11th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
A new study will give ammunition to those who say local teachers unions wield significant power in Rhode Island.
The two organizations – the National Education Association Rhode Island and the smaller Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals – are the fifth-strongest teachers unions in the United States based on a range of measures, according to an analysis [pdf] by the Thomas P. Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now, the nonprofit wing of Democrats for Education Reform.
The four states ranked as having stronger teachers unions than Rhode Island were Hawaii, Oregon, Montana and Pennsylvania. Connecticut ranked 17th and Massachusetts ranked 21st.
The authors say the study “represents the most comprehensive analysis of American teacher unions’ strength ever conducted,” and it suggests the Rhode Island unions’ are more involved in politics and have more resources than most of their counterparts elsewhere in the country.
March 6th, 2012 at 10:18 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Few cuts in last year’s state budget have gotten more attention than the $24 million reduction in funding for programs that assist developmentally disabled Rhode Islanders.
The latest salvo is the mailer at right from the Have a Heart Coalition, which attacks House Speaker Gordon Fox, House Majority Leader Nick Mattiello and two of the men tipped as potential Fox successors – Helio Melo and J. Patrick O’Neill – for having “trampled on the dignity” of the disabled.
The mailing does not say who funded it, but the address given for the Have a Heart Coalition is that of the United Nurses & Allied Professionals union on Branch Avenue in Providence. Jim Parisi of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals union and Jeanne Jose of UNAP are the contact people on the coalition’s website.
The Have a Heart Coalition has not registered as a lobbying organization with the secretary of state’s office, according to its online directory.
Update: Looks like that’s not the only mailer from the Have a Heart Coalition floating around. Here’s another one passed along by a reader:
What’s ironic is Chafee’s original 2011-12 budget proposal didn’t even call for those cuts, as he reminded me in an interview last year. But he did sign the revised budget lawmakers crafted that included them.