Rhode Island Families for School Choice

RI Families for School Choice!

Click on the image of Derrell Bradford and watch the video of him rallying at the RI Statehouse...

School Choice in Rhode Island


Rhode Island has one private school choice program (limited tax-credit scholarships). The state does have a charter school law. Rhode Island does not enable public virtual schooling. Limited open enrollment exists, only for interdistrict public school choice. 

Laws & Regulations Governing Private Schools


Both tax credit and voucher programs are school choice options for Rhode Island. Given that Rhode Island courts adhere to federal Establishment Clause precedent when interpreting the state’s Compelled Support Clause, it is likely that the Zelman decision, with its distinction between aiding students and aiding the schools they choose to attend, will be persuasive.

–Quote from the Institute for Justice (April 2007)


Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations

Enacted 2006 • Launched 2007

Rhode Island provides a credit on corporate income taxes for donations to Scholarship Organizations, nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. Tax credits are worth 75 percent of a taxpayer’s contribution, or 90 percent if donated for two... Read More


10/6/2011 Enlow | The ‘Common Goal’ of Education

What is School Choice?

School Choice is…

…a common sense idea that gives all parents the power and freedom to choose their child’s education, while encouraging healthy competition among schools and other institutions to better serve students’ needs and priorities.

…a public policy that allows a parent/guardian or student to choose a district, charter, or private school, regardless of residence and location.

Common Sense

It is immoral that the quality of schooling is based on the value and location of your home. School choice gives parents the freedom to choose a school based on its quality and their child’s needs, not their home address.

Parental Power and Freedom

Most people can’t afford to pay twice for education, once in taxes and again in private school tuition. School choice gives parents financial power and flexibility by letting them use public funds set aside for education to send their children to the school of their choice—public or private, near or far, religious or secular—whatever works best for their children. In every part of the country, children are assigned to a public school based on where their parents live. School districts, in nearly all cases, control local monopolies that dictate the terms and conditions of education for students and schools. School choice gives parents the freedom to choose a school.

Healthy Competition and Effective Schools

Most schools in America still operate using a 19th century industrial model for delivering goods and services. Today, schools generally do not function in a way that can effectively meet the specific needs and priorities of every unique child. School choice forces all schools—public and private—to compete and innovate in order to offer the best education possible to attract and retain students.

Contact us anytime at info@edchoiceri.org

Standardized tests not a top concern for school choice parents

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN—Higher standardized test scores may be a priority for many lawmakers, but in at least one state, it’s not the main reason school choice parents chose private schools over public.

Georgia parents opting for private schools through the state’s tax-credit scholarship program cared most about disciplinary policies, learning climate, class sizes, safety, and individual attention for their children. 
Those were the findings, released this week by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, of a 2013 survey the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program conducted among its 2,685 participating families, with 754 of them completing the entire survey.
The GOAL program is Georgia’s largest Student Scholarship Organization (SSO). Since 2008, Georgia students have been able to receive scholarships to private schools through nonprofit SSOs, which are funded by individual and corporate contributions that entitle donors to an offsetting state income tax credit.
Among surveyed parents, only 10.2 percent rated “higher standardized test scores” as one of their top five reasons for choosing a private school. 

Most popular among respondents were: 
  • “better student discipline” (50.9 percent),
  • “better learning environment” (50.8 percent),
  • “smaller class sizes” (48.9 percent),
  • “improved student safety” (46.8 percent), and
  • “more individual attention for my child” (39.3 percent). 
The survey’s authors said those parents’ responses challenge the “accountability through testing” approach some lawmakers have required of private schools accepting vouchers and tax-credit scholarships through state school choice programs. 
“These results should dissuade lawmakers from forcing standardized tests on private schools, including those with school choice students,” Benjamin Scafidi, co-author of the Friedman report and professor at Georgia College & State University, said. “Parents want to evaluate schools based on their children’s needs, not the government’s.”
If a private school declined to give GOAL parents their sought-after information, 79.2 percent said it “would impact” and 20 percent said it “might impact” their decision. Less than 1 percent said it would not affect their choice.
“Parents are quite capable of holding private schools accountable if those schools don’t provide the requested information,” Jim Kelly, the Friedman report’s co-author and founder of GOAL, said. “Out of respect for parents, policymakers should not be emphasizing one factor, such as standardized testing, to the exclusion of others that parents deem more beneficial for their children.”
The survey revealed parents want information about a private school’s:
  • student-teacher ratio (84.2 percent), 
  • accreditation (70.2 percent), 
  • curriculum and course descriptions (69.9 percent), 
  • college acceptance rate (61.3 percent), and
  • religious instruction (56 percent). 
Standardized test performance ranked sixth (30 percentage points behind student-teacher ratio) on parents’ list of school information they find most important, followed by graduation rates and school discipline policies. 
In gathering information, most surveyed parents (92.8 percent) would ask to tour the school. Determining how convenient the school is to their home was the least frequent step parents would take (48 percent).
The Friedman Foundation report, “More Than Scores: An Analysis of Why and How Parents Choose Private Schools,” is available to download at edchoice.org/MoreThanScores.

Private school vouchers have been around for quite a while.  But some state supreme courts have questioned the constitutionality of giving parents public education dollars to send their children to parochial schools.  READ MORE