School Choice = Expanding Educational Freedom

Center Adofo

Educational Freedom changes lives. How many Rhode Island families have been forced to move away? How many other American families have chosen not to make our state their home? Rhode Island students and families suffer, because of a lack educational opportunity and economic prosperity. The die has now been cast: School choice is all about expanding educational freedom for families. Those who oppose choice are all about preserving the status quo broken education system.

Let me tell you about someone who has had his life transformed by educational freedom…this summer and fall we have a great intern at our Center. His name is Samuel Adofo, and he is finishing his political science degree at the University of Notre Dame.

Center Adofo

Sam’s story is powerful: raised by a single-mom with four other siblings in Central Falls, he credits his early charter school education in New York City for instilling in him the discipline he needed to overcome the obstacles in the sub-standard Central Falls public school system, and earn acceptance to prestigious Notre Dame!

Sam’s passion is education. His career goal is to start and build a nonprofit so that other disadvantaged kids in Rhode Island can enjoy increased educational options.

Rhode Island students deserve the opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams, this will only be possible if they have the freedom to do so. Your voice can make a difference, please speak out and demand great educational freedom today.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    This article gives rise to several thoughts. I wonder how many people thinking of moving to RI have a reliable way of judging the schools. I have always thought that, for it’s size, Providence has a large number of private schools. The latter tells me something.

  • Makaha Ken

    State of Rhode Island is 1,214 sq. mi. in size, 37 miles East to West and 48 miles North to South. There are 39 independent incorporated cities and towns. According to Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) there are 66 public school districts with 142,949 students and there are 30 Charter Schools with 8,800 students.

    There are 63 accredited private schools PreK, K-12 with 16,838 students state-wide across Rhode Island.

    State of Rhode Island is very top heavy in political micro-management at governor and state general assembly levels plus municipal micro-management of the local public schools driving local taxes up also failing to maintain school infrastructure by delaying repairs and having RIDE constantly change direction due to political whims causing educators in classroom uncertainty of what curriculum to be teaching.

    2018, Rhode Island became one of the 22 states to offer Private School Choice State Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

    You got freedom of choice in Rhode Island to send your child to a public school, charter school or private school and write off the cost under the Private School Choice State Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Lot of dramatics here for something you already got!!

  • Joe Smith

    Rhett – the interesting findings from places with very broad school choice (like New Zealand or New Orleans) is parental choices don’t fit with the nice soundbite that parents only pick schools solely on measurable outcomes.

    Providence has a large number of private schools due to the large catholic influence (although declining), the catholic influence in establishing the athletic league that allows – despite the inequitable rules against public schools – the private schools to compete in the “public” league (hence another recruiting draw), and frankly the desire of a certain section of Providence who residents want the same segregation for their children as for themselves.

    Those who oppose choice are all about preserving the status quo broken education system — nice false dichotomy there. How about some of us who feel, just like a special interest shouldn’t be able to siphon off taxpayer money without transparency and accountability, the mere fact you were able to procreate or obtain guardianship didn’t automatically confer upon you the right to be subsidized with $15-20K of taxpayer money under the assumption what you feels is best also aligns with the public’s larger interest in terms of an appropriate education.

    That doesn’t mean we think there shouldn’t be elements of competition or reforms to how traditional schools work. It might mean though having a charter school that is the least diverse school in the entire state and siphons kids (and $3M) from 4 and 5 star schools – and rejects kids from Providence under archaic language is really a good thing.

    • Justin Katz

      I can’t speak for every advocate for educational freedom, but I’ve never claimed that parents would make decisions based on measurable outcomes. Indeed, I’ve argued that school choice allows competition and accountability without requiring a top-down regime of metrics. (I typically make this point in response to complaints about the shortcomings of standardized testing as an accountability measure.) If parents think a moral, Christian foundation is important to education, then that’s a valid criterion. If people in a community just have a sense that a particular school is good, that’s a means of judgment. Letting putative experts decide how schools should be measured isn’t working very well.