RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity Launches Ad Campaign for School Choice. House Hearing Today.

May 27, 2015
Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity Launches School Choice Ad Campaign
Full-Page Ad in Providence Journal Coincides with House Finance Committee Hearing on School Choice
Unions cited for standing in the way of needed education reforms
Providence, RI – Today the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, the state’s premiere free-market think tank, announced a new ad campaign in support of school choice. The Center’s full-page ad is currently running in today’s Providence Journal. The ad, which asks “What’s the difference between a bright future and a bleak one?” is part of the Bright Today initiative to expand school choice and improve education quality in the Ocean State.

The ad comes on the same day the House Finance Committee is to hear bill H5790, legislation that would offer Bright Today educational scholarship accounts for all Rhode Island families. The bi-partisan bill is sponsored by Representative Raymond Hull (D, Providence) and will be heard at 4:30 pm today in Room 35 of the State House.

The full-page Providence Journal ad goes on to say: “The Rhode Island General Assembly is considering a bill that could expand school choice and improve education in Rhode Island. For too long, unions have stood in the way of a brighter future for our children. But with the lowest graduation rate in New England, Rhode Island can and must do better.”

To view the ad, click HERE.Based on reports previously published by the Center, sub-grade facts about public education in Rhode Island include:

  • The lowest graduation rate in in New England;
  • Low value. The RI public school system spends among the top 10 in the nation per pupil, yet K-12 performance and reform is rated among the bottom 10;
  • At-risk students especially suffer– low income, black, Hispanic, & students with disabilities; RI Hispanics score almost 8 points lower than the national average;
  • RI parents are the most pessimistic about public schools in the entire country, based on public polling.

In addition to today’s Providence Journal ad, the Center will also launch an aggressive social media push to inform taxpayers throughout the state of the benefits of the school choice legislation. The bills currently under consideration in the General Assembly would allow parents greater flexibility and choice in their children’s schooling, whether at a public or private school.

Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the nonpartisan group, said today, “After years of increased per-pupil spending and little improvement in educational performance, it’s time for Rhode Island lawmakers to do what’s best for our state’s families and students. Empowering parents with expanded school choice options would give our children greater opportunities to succeed and help create a brighter economic future for our entire state.”

Bright Today Scholarships are a form of Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) where, just this month, Tennessee became the fourth state to officially adopt the innovative scholarship program. . A bi-partisan Senate version of the bill (S0607), also with a Democrat lead sponsor, was heard in committee last week.*****

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 BrightToday.org.
  • 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 RIFreedom.com/EdChoiceRI.
  • BrightToday_Prov_Journal
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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