BrightToday Campaign Launch – Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2015
Diverse Coalition Launches School Choice Campaign
Center Publishes “The Case for Educational Choice”
Only 29% would choose a government-run school
Providence, RI — With few options available for families of an unacceptably high number of public school students who are failed by a sub-standard public educational system in Rhode Island, a diverse coalition of school reform advocates launched today a long-term educational choice public policy campaign. The nonpartisan Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, for its part, published The Case for Expanded Educational Choice, a paper that includes national research and the collective perspective of the coalition partners.

The main tenets of the coalition initiative, named the “Bright Today Educational Choice” campaign, are that no child should be condemned to attend a failing school; that every family should feel confident that their children can dream of a bright future; that no child should have to wait for tomorrow’s reform promises; and that every child deserves an education of their family’s choice – today.

A dedicated campaign website can be viewed at www.BrightToday.org.

According to the paper, with the supply of existing school choice programs in the Ocean State not adequately meeting high parental demand for choice; and with public opinion recognizing the shortcomings of the government-run school system, the coalition suggests the time is now for Rhode Island to empower parents with new options to choose a proper educational path for their children. In a 2013 poll, only 29% of Rhode Islanders indicated they would select a regular public school as their first choice.

The Center joins a growing coalition, currently comprised of the nationally renownedFriedman Foundation for Educational Choice, as well as number of local groups, including Rhode Island Families for School Choice, FACE of Rhode Island, theRoosevelt Society, the Gaspee Project, RI Catholic Schools Parents Federation, and the Providence Hebrew Day School. The size and breadth of the coalition is expected to rapidly increase in the coming months. The Center also announced that Gertrude Jones andLuis Vargas will serve as community outreach advisers for the Bright Today campaign.

Gertrude Jones

Jones, a diversity advocate and former Lifespan executive and President of the Providence School Board, said “take the time to review the definition of insanity, and then ask yourself why we keep educating our children with the same system while expecting different results. Educational choice creates real freedom for families and can give Rhode Island’s children a fighting chance at lifelong success.”.

The Bright Today coalition will announce specific policy solutions in the coming weeks and expects to have bi-partisan legislative support in the Rhode Island General Assembly for a package of related bills. Further, RI Families for School Choice will host its annual school choice Legislative Reception at the Statehouse on the afternoon of January 29, as part of the National School Choice Week celebration.

“At the end of the day, we have to realize that we have failed to provide our children with an education that will translate to real-world success. It is time for us to empower parents and then, as so many other states have seen, watch as our children thrive in an educational environment that matches their unique learning needs,” commented Vargas, a 2014 candidate for General Assembly in South Providence and successful product of school choice himself.

The Center expects to release a number of education studies and transparency tools in the coming months, including a study on Rhode Islanders’ already high propensity to choose private schools; a demographic study on long-term spending pressures; an interactive tool to compare performance of RI K-12 students with other states; and a financial modeling tool that will estimate the revenue effect of specific school choice policies.

Parents or individuals wishing to stay informed about or become involved with the campaign, should register at the RI Families or School Choice website,  EdChoiceRI.org. The Center has also set up an educational choice home page on its website that can be viewed atRIFreedom.org/EdChoiceRI.

Media Contact:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO
401.429.6115 | info@rifreedom.org
About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise think tank. The mission of the 501c3 nonprofit organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.
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