Registered voters in the state of Rhode Island
United States of America

Public school choice shifts power into our hands and away from the entrenched bureaucracies that are unmotivated to respond to families. Allowing parents to "vote with their feet" would increase parent satisfaction, change the unresponsive cultures of many of our schools, encourage the creation of new public school models with outside investment and even promote intelligent regionalization.

How can Rhode Island enhance and expand public school choice? First, the state should support the innovative public schools currently operating across the state that students actively choose to attend. Of the six Rhode Island High Schools recently named by US News and World Report as among the 500 best in the nation, four of them are "choice" schools. The fifth is in a district where public charter schools compete with traditional public schools for students. The state should support and promote its public charter schools. It should also support the creation of many more new, innovative public school models. Secondly, the state should allow families to send their children to public schools across districts whenever and wherever space is available. Such "cross-district choice" is already available in Minnesota, Vermont and in large urban areas of Massachusetts. All three states outpace Rhode Island on student achievement by wide margins.

Rhode Island consistently finishes in the bottom half of states on national public school achievement tests despite being in the top seven in per-pupil spending. A recent study names Rhode Island as one of only five states catagorized as "High Spending/Low Performance."

While, in theory, there is enough total funding currently in the system to support quality public education for all, it has been poorly distributed, mismangaged, and generally tied up in a costly and inefficient bureaucracy. Not nearly enough of that funding has been directly targeted at the education of children.

Rhode Island's position as 7th in the nation in state and local income taxes and 3rd in the nation in percentage of public education costs paid for through local property tax revenue, combined with the current state of Rhode Island's large budget deficits, make major capital investments in public education unlikely.

Given the realities described above, the best catalyst for improved public education in Rhode Island is an expansion of the public school options available to Rhode Island families.

All children should have the opportunity to attend a public school in which they learn, achieve and grow. Every Rhode Island parent deserves quality public school options.

For Spanish and Portuguese translation of this petition, please visit www.rifpso.org

We, the undersigned, support public school choice.

We call on our elected officials to support and create choice in public schooling in Rhode Island.

En Espanol:
Los abajo firmantes, respaldamos la opción de elegir las escuelas públicas. Les hacemos un llamado a nuestros funcionarios electos para que respalden la opción de elegir y generar la educación pública en Rhode Island.

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The Choice in Public Schooling in Rhode Island petition to Registered voters in the state of Rhode Island was written by melinda acosta and is in the category Education at GoPetition.