School Talk

Julia Steiny: The Government is Abusing and Neglecting Kids

Julia Steiny has been writing about education in Rhode Island for years and in her piece excerpted and linked below, she shines a light on how the governance of public education is a “nasty political power game.” 

In her most recent column at Education News entitled, “How Governments Abuse and Neglect Kids”, she shares her experiences on the inside as Providence school board member and later as an advocate for kids and families.  

Sadly, what she writes is absolutely still true. 

When still young and blissfully naive, I was appointed to the Providence School Board.  I was sure my clever, well-informed interview with the outgoing Mayor had knocked it out of the park.  I later discovered I was merely a goad to the in-coming Mayor.  No big deal; I was there anyway, getting what I later called my PhD in urban education.

Within about six months I realized I’d stumbled into a nasty political power game.  Tax money was collected from the public in the name of educating kids, but then passed among the adult players.  The battles — legal, contractual, fiscal, regulatory — left the students themselves looking like the ball that rolls off the court while team players are having at each other.  The adults had lawyers, precedents and policies backing them.  The kids had no voice to speak of, and were, in my eyes, getting a super raw deal.  I left my old life and started working for them.

To read the full piece, click here.  

To read more by Julia Steiny, go to

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