Bright Today Scholarship Legislation to be Heard Wednesday in RI Senate

May 19, 2015
Bright Today Scholarship Legislation to be Heard Wednesday in RI Senate
Center Publishes New Booklet Summarizing Win-Win-Win Policy Solution
Providence, RI – Bi-partisan Senate legislation that would empower parents with greater choices when it comes to determining the best educational path for their children will be debated Wednesday in the Senate Committee on Education in Room 313 of the State House.

“No child should have to attend an under-performing school just because of their zip code or be forced to wait for vague promises of tomorrow’s reforms,” said Senator Marc Cote (D, Woonsocket), lead sponsor of the bill. “In order to have a bright future, every child deserves a great education of their family’s choice – today.”

At the 4:30 pm hearing for S0607, which would provide ‘Bright Today’ scholarships for private educations, and which would allow open enrollment within public schools, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity will provide testimony and will distribute a report-booklet, which highlights the key findings of multiple publications by the Center.

“In the five months since the launch of this school choice campaign, there has not been one credible argument made against this WIN-WIN-WIN policy solution,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “The booklet, The Way of the Future, shows how this major educational reform can provide immediate relief for thousands of under-served students, without costing taxpayers a single new dime and without adversely impacting public schools.

The booklet lays out a full description and narrative on the benefits of the Bright Today Scholarship program. Highlights include: Low value by government-run schools. Public schools in Rhode Island yield one of the lowest taxpayer values in New England and across the nation, failing far too many students.The public supports school choice. Based on behavior and public surveys, Rhode Islanders firmly support empowering parents with private school options.Not a partisan issue. Choice is not a Democrat-Republican or left-right issue, and is supported by constituencies from across the political spectrum. Demand exceeds supply. Legislative and administrative restrictions on existing charter school and corporate tax credit scholarship programs means parental demand for alternative schooling is greater than what the state allows.

  • Myths debunked. Despite claims from opponents, there is no adverse impact on public schools. In fact, public schools generally benefit from the increased competition and parent-driven accountability.
  • School choice leads to net fiscal savings for public school districts. The math of educational choice, unlike charter school math, leads to increased funding per public school student and actual savings for most school districts.

Bright Today Scholarships are a form of Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) where, just this week, Tennessee became the fourth state to officially adopt the innovative scholarship program. The bi-partisan House bill (H5790), also with a Democrat lead sponsor, is expected to be heard in the House Finance Committee in the coming weeks.

Background: In January 2015, the nonprofit Center published The Case for Expanded Educational Choice, putting forth arguments why the time is now to empower parents with more educational options for their children.
In March 2015, the Center published a report, The Way of the Future, describing the Bright Today Scholarship program outlined by the legislation.
In April 2015, The Math of Educational Choice, showed how most public school districts would actually achieve net fiscal savings via the Bright Today Scholarship program.
The main tenets of 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
The Center is part of a growing coalition, currently comprised of the nationally renowned Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, as well as number of in-state advocacy groups. For more information, concerned parents can also visit the Center’s ed choice home page at
Media Contact:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO
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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