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What is School Choice: Opportunity for Rhode Island Michael Chartier State Programs & Government Relations Director Leslie Davis Hiner, Esq. Vice President.

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Presentation on theme: "What is School Choice: Opportunity for Rhode Island Michael Chartier State Programs & Government Relations Director Leslie Davis Hiner, Esq. Vice President."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is School Choice: Opportunity for Rhode Island Michael Chartier State Programs & Government Relations Director Leslie Davis Hiner, Esq. Vice President of Programs & State Relations

2 What is School Choice? Happy Family Successful Graduate Economic Freedom Individual Liberty

3 When Did the Idea of School Choice Begin ? It was 1955; future Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman kick-started modern education reform with the article, "The Role of Government in Education."

4 Milton Friedman’s Vision "Government," wrote Friedman, "preferably local governmental units, would give each child, through his parents, a specified sum to be used solely in paying for his general education; the parents would be free to spend this sum at a school of their own choice, provided it met certain minimum standards laid down by the appropriate governmental unit."

5 Foundational Ideas Supporting School Choice 1.That a free market society is hindered by a bureaucratically controlled educational system where government funds and operates schools. 2.That competition in the education marketplace will spark innovation and invigorate achievement in schools. 3.That all parents should have the freedom to choose the school that is right for their children.

6 Many School Choice Opportunities So many choices... Universal Voucher Education Savings Account Special Needs Voucher Limited Access Voucher Tax Credit Scholar- ship Online Learning Charter Schools

7 Year of Growth For School Choice School Choice Scorecard Number of States Introducing Choice 42 Total Number of Bills Introduced 112 Number of States Enacting Choice 15 Total Number of Bills Enacted 27 Number of New Choice Programs 13 Number of Expanded Programs 14 A Rising Tide

8 Now, Private School Choice in 44% of the States State Failing School Voucher Town Tuitioning Voucher Special Needs Voucher Geographic, means-tested voucher District Voucher Statewide Means-tested voucher Education Savings Accounts Tax Credit Scholarship Individual Tax Credits or Deductions Total AZ 13 4 CO * 1* 1 DC 1 1 FL GA IL 11 IN 1113 IA 112 LA ME 1 1 MN 11 MS11 NC 11 NH11 OK OH PA 2 2 RI 1 1 UT 1 1 VA11 VT 1 1 WI Tax Credit Scholarships: 14 Personal: 6 Total Voucher Programs and ESAs: 19 Total Tax Credit Programs: 20

9 How to Know the Possibilities: Do Your Homework Vouchers; Embrace the flexibility  Milton Friedman taught universal vouchers; structure an education funding formula based on Milton’s vision  Education Savings Accounts the new voucher frontier; design to fit needs in your community  Vouchers for children with special needs the new essential program  Limited access vouchers should be statewide; limits on parental income, prior school, low performing schools common yet not ideal

10 Special Needs Voucher Programs Are Growing Fast

11 Vouchers How it works: Allow parents to use all or part of the government funding set aside for their children’s education to send their children to the public or private school of their choice Most programs allow parents to send their children to religious or non-religious schools Private schools must meet standards of safety, fiscal soundness, and non-discrimination

12 Education Savings Accounts How it works: Education funding allocated for a child is deposited into a secure account. Parent decides if/when to use funds for pre- Kindergarten, K-12 private school, tutoring, extra classes, other educational needs. Funds remaining in account when child completes high school may be used for college.

13 How to Know the Possibilities: Do Your Homework Tax Credit Scholarships, Online Learning  Privately-funded scholarship programs transition well to tax credit scholarship programs  Tax credit programs should be statewide; limits on parental income, prior school, low performing schools common yet not ideal  Conflicts between tax credit programs and state efforts to eliminate income tax  Online learning growing in popularity; hybrid programs easy to understand and promote  Rural areas particularly well-suited for online learning

14 Tax Credit Scholarships How it works: Individuals or groups establish a 501(c)(3) scholarship granting organization (SGO) Corporations and/or individuals donate to the SGO, receiving a tax credit for their donation The SGO disburses scholarships to children to attend the school of their choice using the donated money

15 How to Know the Possibilities: Do Your Homework Charter schools need free market focus  Charters are public schools; like most government schools, face hazard of creeping bureaucracy  Promote and preserve independent nature of charter school original design  Independent, private authorizers essential to long-term success of charter school growth and achievement  Charter schools and vouchers a perfect match; establish a partnership between school choice and charter school supporters

16 Charter Schools, Home Schools, and Online Learning EdWeek Quality Counts 2012 report graded Rhode Island C+ for education policy and performance Rhode Island charter school law graded ‘D’, one of the worst charter school laws in the country, by the Center for Education Reform Rhode Island homeschool laws among most restrictive in the nation Rhode Island positioned well for online learning, high percentage of children with internet access

17 Advancing A School Choice Agenda The way forward... Strategy #1 Assess the Opportunity; Understand the Playing Field Strategy #2 Facilitate Success; Lead from the Center Strategy #3 Inspire Success; Motivate Others

18 School Choice Strategy #1 Assess the Opportunity The Playing Field... Market: children, families, schools Government: legislative, executive, judicial Coalition: business, religion, private schools

19 How to Assess the Opportunity: Understand the Playing Field Know your market challenges  Who are your customers? Know the social, economic, academic, cultural status of children & families  What do children need for academic success in your state/district?  How would school choice meet this need?  Where is the greatest need?  Who is providing quality education today?  How much capacity currently exists in the private school market? How can this expand to meet demand?

20 How to Assess the Opportunity: Understand the Playing Field Know your government challenges  Legislative: Which legislators are champions for school choice? What is their track record on school choice? Who are the unlikely champions? Who will be roadblocks to reform?  Executive: Who will ask your governor to support school choice? Can your governor be neutralized? Which education leaders will support school choice?  Judicial: Who will answer legal arguments? Are there pending cases in state court regarding state dollars to private entities?

21 How to Assess the Opportunity: Understand the Playing Field Know your coalition challenges  Is there an existing school choice coalition? If so, is it effective? Is it diverse? Are members dedicated?  Who can lead one effective coalition that can grow and continue to work during implementation of a school choice program?  Does the business community support school choice?  Do religious organizations support school choice?  Is your nonpublic schools organization supportive?  Will charter schools and homeschoolers rally to your support?  Do you adequately support parental outreach?

22 School Choice Strategy #2 Facilitate Success Assemble the Leaders... Common Table Government Officials School Choice Coalition National Groups

23 How to Facilitate Success Lead from the Center Lead with knowledge & resources  Be credible; educate. Use knowledge of your community, coalition, specific types of school choice to position yourself as the primary resource  Teach a common language for school choice; united advocates must speak in one voice  Provide a safe harbor for advocates from any party to attend coalition meetings and share ideas  School choice advocates may strongly disagree on other issues; be the center point of agreement on school choice as a stand alone issue

24 Programs Team Services  Educational Meetings 1.Events, and Briefings 2.Regional Summits 3.Fact-finding Trips 4.Webinars  Legislative & Administrative Advice and Training  Program Design EDUCATION & GRANT-MAKING  Coalition-Building Activities  Speakers Bureau  Public Speaking  Expert Testimony  Lobbying  Grant-making to 501(c)(3) nonprofits

25 Programs Team Services  Research Support  Graphic Design  Marketing and Advertising  Media Training and Message Development  Media Relations and Appearances RESEARCH & MARKETING  Research and Analysis 1.National Research 2.State Research 3.Fiscal 4.Programs 5.Public Schools Sector  Surveys 1.Polling 2.Private Schools Sector

26 How to Get School Choice Done Inspire Success; Lead “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams


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