The office of Rhode Island education commissioner Ken Wagner just put out a statement (PDF) on media reports that the Achievement First charter school company is looking to expand its offerings in Rhode Island. The statement attempts to finesse the line between (paraphrasing) “we absolutely believe every one of our regular district school teachers is dedicated and wonderful” and “but we can’t deny that parents think we’re failing them, and we can’t really argue the point.”
That is to say that the statement seems mainly targeted toward teachers and education-system insiders uncomfortable with the Dept. of Education’s continued reluctance to blow up the engine that’s pulling the charter train forward. For those not in this target audience, though, this might be the most interesting sentence:
Last year, I met with a group of parents who created a year-long prayer group asking for one thing: success for their children in a charter lottery.
One could go in a number of directions with that tidbit. Given my own interests, what strikes me most is that this group of apparent believers is praying for school choice within a public school system that remains, at best, doggedly neutral about the existence of God, at worst, actively hostile to religious belief, or most likely, a relatively non-ideological cog in the great progressive gear that is purposefully grinding religious belief to a benign dust in our society.
Why not pray for legislators to implement a funding system that allows families to choose schools that aren’t explicitly or implicitly hostile to their religious beliefs? Perhaps it seems our world, in Rhode Island, is too far gone for believers to harbor such hopes.