Charter Schools, Education Savings Accounts, and Sensible School Choice


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.

If we take a step back from the politics of education and teacher unions, it’s difficult to see the sense of making this large investment. A report that the Rhode Island Department of Education published a couple of years ago estimated that it would cost almost $2 billion to bring all of the state’s public school buildings up to a “good condition.”

At the same time, the report’s authors calculated that those buildings currently have 19 percent excess capacity — meaning that they have a lot of empty space — and projected a continuing reduction in the number of students. From 2011 to 2021, the study projected a 4 percent drop in enrollment overall, reaching 13 percent in the suburbs.

In that light, does the state really need to increase its number of public schools?

Continue reading in the Providence Journal.

  • George from Warwick

    In that light, does the state really need to increase its number of public schools?

    Well, we could always just improve the quality of the public schools we already have. Then Charter Schools would be un·necessary

    Of course, if we could just get all of the salt out of the ocean, California’s drought problem would be solved over·night

    And sadly, that second Great Idea is infinitely more likely to get accomplished in this century

  • Mike678

    Parents only get to educate their child once…why should they be forced to support a good school when the charter down the road is a better school…or a better fit? Charters do a better job for students overall, but perhaps that is because their parents care. Many parents don’t…and their dysfunctional children often bring down/disrupt classrooms and education. One bad apple can spoil the rest. Why do parents have to put up with this?

    Our local public schools are complaining about the cost of charters, saying they could do more if they had that money. Frankly, if they had done their job when they had that money, parents wouldn’t be sending their children to charters. Try harder, compete and win the students back. Easier, however, to get the union captured legislature to shut the charters down and give the teachers another raise.