Study: Rhode Islanders support school choice
Posted By Mary C. Tillotson On November 1, 2013 @ 1:05 pm
By Mary C. Tillotson | Watchdog.org
Rhode Islanders want school choice and support vouchers for all students, according to a study published this week .
“There is a broad-based support for giving families the option of sending their kids to the school of their choice,” said Michael Chartier, Rhode Island state director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which co-published the study. “This crosses all parties, spectrums, geographic diversity of the state. There’s a wide acceptance of school choice, and people see the need to make a choice for where to send their kids to school.”
About 21,000 Rhode Island students attend private schools, compared to the 145,000 that attend traditional public or public charter schools.
Given the opportunity, 54 percent of Rhode Islanders said they would send their children to a private school, the study found.
Rhode Islanders also thought more highly of their local private schools than their public schools.
Forty-four percent gave an A or B grade to their local public schools, while 79 percent gave an A or B to their local private schools. Fifteen percent rated their local public schools D or F, and 5 percent rated local private schools D or F. These numbers don’t include participants who chose not to grade their local schools.
Of survey respondents, 62 percent said vouchers should be available to all families, and 63 percent said vouchers shouldn’t only be available to families based on financial need.
“There’s this huge demand for the opportunity to send their children to private school, but they can’t access that,” Chartier said.
Researchers gathered the data over 602 phone calls this summer, and the margin of error is 4 percentage points.
Rhode Island has limited school choice options — a small tax-credit scholarship program and some charter schools, though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have new charter schools improve, said Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, which co-published the study with the Friedman Foundation.
Earlier this year , state Rep. Elaine Coderre, a Democrat from Pawtucket, sponsored a bill that would have made almost 70 percent of Rhode Island students eligible for vouchers to attend private schools.
The bill didn’t pass, but school choice proponents say the state may be open to similar measures in the upcoming legislative session, beginning in January.
“We’ve already broken the dam,” Stenhouse said. “It’s not like the whole idea of choice is an anathema to Rhode Island. We have two small, limited programs, and that’s another reason we feel … a voucher bill might have a chance in the coming years.”
“They’re all our school system, and taxpayers pay taxes to educate those kids,” he said. “It shouldn’t matter whether the taxpayer dollar goes to government schools, private schools, homeschooling. It shouldn’t matter, as long as we’re getting quality education … If one segment provides better options than another segment, it’s important for those options to be provided.”
Contact Mary C. Tillotson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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URL to article: http://watchdog.org/114090/study-rhode-islanders-support-school-choice/
URLs in this post:
 Educating America: http://watchdog.org/series/educating-america/
 a study published this week: http://www.edchoice.org/Research/Reports/Rhode-Island-K-12-and-School-Choice-Survey.aspx
 Image: http://watchdog.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/08/school-choice-protest1.jpg
 Earlier this year: http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/ProJo/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=VFBKLzIwMTMvMDUvMzA.&pageno=MQ..&entity=QXIwMDcwMw..&view=ZW50aXR5
 $45 million not enough for Philadelphia teachers’ union: http://watchdog.org/113637/philadelphia-teachers-union/
 Study: Choice would help failing Chicago schools: http://watchdog.org/114652/choice-chicago-schools/
 Arizona mom won’t give up on special needs kids, no matter what state says: http://watchdog.org/106956/arizona-empowerment-scholarships/
 Reviving a 1970s lawsuit, DOJ would keep black students in failing schools: http://watchdog.org/107099/reviving-a-1970s-lawsuit-doj-would-keep-black-students-in-failing-schools/
 Relocating sexually abusive teachers would be more difficult under Pennsylvania bill: http://watchdog.org/107730/relocating-sexually-abusive-teachers-would-be-more-difficult-under-pennsylvania-bill/
 DOJ backpedals on Louisiana voucher lawsuit: http://watchdog.org/107931/doj-backpedals-on-louisiana-voucher-lawsuit/
 Court says charter schools won’t pay for Atlanta’s pension debts: http://watchdog.org/108070/charter-schools-atlanta-pension-debt/
 Biggest education impact from shutdown? Furloughed bureaucrats: http://watchdog.org/108270/biggest-education-impact-from-shutdown-furloughed-bureaucrats/
 Appeals court upholds Arizona school choice program: http://watchdog.org/108633/appeals-court-upholds-arizona-school-choice-program/
 Indiana’s voucher program expands; diversity a factor in one family’s choice of school: http://watchdog.org/108901/indianas-voucher-program-expands-diversity-a-factor-in-one-familys-choice-of-school/
 ‘Vouchers don’t do much good for students’ claim is false: http://watchdog.org/109580/vouchers-dont-do-much-good-for-students-claim-is-false/
 NYC mayor’s race could affect school choice: http://watchdog.org/109726/nyc-mayors-race-could-affect-school-choice/
 Vermont public school goes independent, raises ire from state bureaucracy: http://watchdog.org/110206/vermont-public-school-goes-independent-raises-ire-from-state-bureaucracy/
 Arizona education savings accounts aren’t vouchers, study says: http://watchdog.org/110369/arizona-education-savings-accounts-arent-vouchers-study-says/
 Legal institute fights Alabama union’s attempt to repeal school tax credit: http://watchdog.org/111115/legal-institute-fights-alabama-unions-attempt-to-repeal-school-tax-credit/
 Experts: School choice improves education in public schools: http://watchdog.org/112121/experts-school-choice-improves-education-in-public-schools/
 SC school-choice program helps special needs kids, could expand: http://watchdog.org/112320/sc-school-choice-program-helps-special-needs-kids-could-expand/
 DOJ wants Louisiana parents out of voucher lawsuit: http://watchdog.org/112755/doj-wants-louisiana-parents-voucher-lawsuit/
 U.S. House passes bill to prevent ‘passing the trash’: http://watchdog.org/113092/u-s-house-passes-bill-prevent-passing-trash/
 ‘Non-traditional’ journalists barred from viewing tax-funded test results early: http://watchdog.org/113178/non-traditional-journalists-barred-viewing-tax-funded-test-results-early/
 New center hopes to help charter schools help kids with special needs: http://watchdog.org/113359/new-center-hopes-help-charter-schools-help-kids-special-needs/
 Charter school advocate to Philadelphia schools: Listen to parents: http://watchdog.org/113580/charter-schools-offer-alternative-philadelphia-families/
 Scholarships could lift SC school dedicated to real-life, hands-on learning: http://watchdog.org/114895/columbia-students-scholarship/
 Parents make good school choices, study says: http://watchdog.org/115905/parents-make-good-school-choices-study-says/
 Divisive charter school reform bill headed toward vote in PA: http://watchdog.org/116714/charter-school-reform/
 In Louisiana school voucher lawsuit, DOJ changes gears: http://watchdog.org/116761/louisiana-voucher-doj-change/
 Opponents sue Washington to overturn charter school law: http://watchdog.org/117785/washington-charter-school-law-sued/
 School choice proponents’ challenge? Educating parents: http://watchdog.org/117544/word-out-school-choice/
 Judge: Federal oversight may not hamper school voucher program: http://watchdog.org/117987/doj-louisiana-school-voucher/
 PA lawmakers push to amend tight teacher furlough policies: http://watchdog.org/118517/pa-teacher-furlough/
 College ready: A Milwaukee inner-city school success story: http://watchdog.org/118513/hope-christian-school/
 Proposed economic furloughs could slay sacred cow of seniority in Pennsylvania schools: http://watchdog.org/118703/pa-teacher-seniority/
 What is Massachusetts doing right?: http://watchdog.org/118763/high-standards-transparent-accountability-and-school-choice-are-keys-to-massachusettss-pisa-success/
 Goldwater to appeal Louisiana school voucher decision: http://watchdog.org/119048/goldwater-to-appeal-louisiana-school-voucher/
 Want to end poverty? Educate the kids: http://watchdog.org/119077/education-poverty/
 Breakdown in Philly schools not only about the money: http://watchdog.org/119207/philly-schools-money/
 North Carolina scholarship program on firm legal footing, attorney argues: http://watchdog.org/120320/nc-scholarship/
 Philadelphia school district threatens charters: http://watchdog.org/120318/philly-charters/
 Belief in student ability key to success at Milwaukee charter school: http://watchdog.org/120876/student-ability-milwaukee/
 Three things to know about Philadelphia’s school budget: Debt, pensions and safety: http://watchdog.org/121163/philadelphia-school-budget/
 Choosing to sue: Here’s a look at some 2013 lawsuits involving school choice: http://watchdog.org/121391/school-choice-lawsuits-2013/
 Philly charter schools outperform district counterparts: http://watchdog.org/121760/philly-charter-schools/
 California students sue state over ineffective teachers: http://watchdog.org/122324/california-students-sue/
 Study: Public supports parent choice in education: http://watchdog.org/122675/public-support-choice/
 Under new management, Philly Renaissance Schools show growth: http://watchdog.org/122962/renaissance-schools-philly/
 New Orleans tops school choice index: http://watchdog.org/123270/school-choice-index/
 AZ to consider four school-choice expansion bills: http://watchdog.org/123434/arizona-school-choice/
 Florida family ‘blessed’ to be apart of scholarship program: http://watchdog.org/122856/florida-scholarship-program/
 PA lawmakers put education at top of agenda in election year: http://watchdog.org/123873/education-election-pa/
 Louisiana: Feds ‘more interested in skin color than … education’: http://watchdog.org/124176/louisiana-skin-color/
 Charter school for Philadelphia foster children will not be renewed: http://watchdog.org/124418/charter-foster-children/
 Governor ties proposed PA education funding to targeted grants: http://watchdog.org/127933/pa-grants/
 WA’s first charter school serves children, families of ‘extreme poverty’: http://watchdog.org/128226/first-charter-school-serves-children-families-extreme-poverty/
 Vermont attempts to take independence from independent schools: http://watchdog.org/128628/vermont-independent-schools/
 Philly stumbles on way to simplifying enrollment system: http://watchdog.org/128811/universal-enrollment/
 Plan for Philly schools keeps charters in check: http://watchdog.org/129395/philly-plan-schools/
 Missouri ballot initiative would increase funding for public, private schools: http://watchdog.org/129460/missouri-school-choice/
 New York charter school focuses on family, community: http://watchdog.org/129522/new-york-charter-school-focuses-family-community/
 NC school vouchers on hold: http://watchdog.org/129815/nc-school-choice/
 WI voucher bill would help special needs students denied open enrollment: http://watchdog.org/130039/wi-students-denied/
 Philadelphia schools will end another year in red: http://watchdog.org/130001/philadelphia-schools-feb/
 PA universities expect state, students to pick up tab on rising tuition: http://watchdog.org/130450/pa-universities/
 Two ESA bills get House support in AZ: http://watchdog.org/130629/arizona-house-esa/
 Thousands rally to support New York charter schools: http://watchdog.org/130985/new-york-charter-schools/
 California’s defense begins in Vergara trial: http://watchdog.org/131228/california-vergara-trial/
 Accountability or overregulation? Charter supporters split over Minnesota bill: http://watchdog.org/131521/minnesota-charter-school-bill/
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