Everyone is talking about critical race theory these days. The local school committee meetings are filled to standing capacity and logged into via Zoom with angry parents and citizens. I’d like to try to explain what CRT is so we know how to fight it.
I took Superintendent Linda Savastano’s recent statement as a slap in the face. The way the wording is, it’s more about protecting herself than being honest and sincere with what she did. Her statement has done nothing to help residents to put this fiasco behind us. If anything, it has put more doubt in our minds that there are more people involved and we don’t know to what extent.
In a small community like ours it’s important to have trust. What Linda has done with her statement has just created more trust and transparency problems.
In most recent news, Nicole Solas, a mother of a rising kindergartner was featured on Fox News about her fight with the South Kingstown School Committee. Mrs. Solas said she was trying to get information about if South Kingstown Teaching Curriculum taught Critical Race Theory and requested 101 documents. Mrs. Solas has also gotten the support from Senator Elaine Morgan from a Republican from District. 34, (Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich).
I feel that one of the problems we’ve had resolving some of our previous disagreements about what buildings would house our schooling is that, metaphorically speaking, we’ve put the cart before the horse. By that I mean, we did not first consider, as a community, what our educational priorities were.
Thank you to everyone who made ArtVenture such a success:
The Town of North Kingstown that funds our local Arts Council, that makes it possible for us to fund Artventure as part of ReDiscoverNK, led by Anne Marie Balboni.
Cindy Di Sousa redesigned the original ArtVenture posters from 2015 with skill and patience.
I looked out my office window yesterday to view five deer happily munching on my back lawn and thought about how different the wildlife is from 60 years ago when I was growing up in South County. In the 1950s there were lots of farms and open spaces. The salt ponds had very few houses on them and Southern Rhode Island had yet to be discovered by our neighboring states.
Many of the hills, ponds and forests I used to roam with my bow or fishing rod are now subdivisions and other housing units.
Thank you to Peace Dale Congregational Church for coordinating the zoom Affordable Housing Round Table on May 25. The panel participants were very informative, in particular about the status of affordable housing in South Kingstown and South County and some of the barriers to creating and accessing affordable housing.
In reading about the school vote, nowhere did I encounter a mention of what I feel was a significant factor – the retirees in the community.
On Sunday, May 23rd, 2021 Peg Fredette and the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce had an opening celebration for our town’s new ice-skating rink. The celebration was “Grand with a capital G” in that it recognized all those who were involved in making the rink a reality for Narragansett.
Just when I think the elected ‘leadership” in this town can’t get any more dysfunctional, I open the paper and discover that the Town Council has voted 3-2 to oust Robert Zarnetske, who will resign effective mid-June. Why? Because Mr. Zarnetske “pushed back” on some elements of an $85 million dollar, poorly-thought-out, school capital improvement plan?
That’s exactly what I want our Town Manager to do — question assumptions, provide expertise, and don’t just be a “yes man.”
It’s been a little over a year since the coronavirus shutdowns and what a year it has been! I want to take this opportunity to recognize Jennifer Prete of JPSD School of Dance in Wakefield for innovating her way through unprecedented times to keep our young dancers engaged. Through 2020, Jennifer, along with her amazing staff offered virtual Zoom classes to help the girls sharpen technique and choreography.
An following is an open letter to the Narragansett Town Council:
This past weekend the Narragansett Town Beach was the scene of yet another large disturbance, resulting in eight people being arrested. This disturbance was of such a scale that the Narragansett Police Department had to call for assistance from South Kingstown PD, North Kingstown PD, State Police and the Rhode Island Environmental Police. What the town witnessed on Sunday, May 23 was an extreme event, but smaller, similar events have been occurring frequently throughout the summer months over the past few years as well.
It was heart-wrenching for us to hear the cries of our cat Luna as she called for rescue from the storm drain she got lost in. After a full day and sleepless night trying all the usual tricks to lure her out, we called the South Kingstown Animal Shelter seeking advice.
The dramatic school referendum result is an epic failure. The defeat of an educational bond in a town like this is rare. Town officials have to be working on the immediate fallout, including how to begin a new planning process, but this is also a time for critical reflection on how they could have so completely missed the mood of South Kingstown.
The Rhode Island House and Senate are considering bills that would authorize the state to enter the Transportation Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P), a cleverly designed program that raises the price of gasoline and diesel every year without the legislature ever having to take a vote. It’s a revenue-generating program disguised as pro-climate policy (of course) that every Rhode Islander should look upon with suspicion and disappointment.