PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee rallied today with members of the charter public school and independent public school communities to call on legislators to protect fair funding for all Rhode Island public school students.
McKee joined with a few hundred students, parents and charter school leaders in the State House Rotunda for a rally put on by Rhode Island Mayoral Academies and the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools. The theme was "Protecting HOPE: High-quality Options for Public Education."
"As state leaders, we should be asking ourselves one question: What is good for Rhode Island?" said McKee. "There's no doubt: Increasing the number of public school options is good for Rhode Island. Now is not the time to be talking about holding back some of our highest-performing schools. We need to be bold and innovative, and talk about what all schools need to be successful."
Participants spoke in favor of the Fair Funding Formula, which the General Assembly passed in 2010 to ensure that state education aid be fair, equitable and predictable. Under that formula, funding follows the child to whatever public school they decide to attend, including public charter, independent, technical and vocational schools.
A special legislative commission is assessing the formula, and there are a number of legislative proposals that could be harmful to the education being received by thousands of Rhode Island students in charter and independent schools.
McKee said that, over the last five years, wherever public school choice has expanded, students have achieved at higher levels, including in traditional district schools. In Pawtucket, for example, there has been a 22 percent increase in the graduation rate, and young families are moving into the city and into district schools.
A study from Stanford University cites Rhode Island as the state with the highest level of public charter school impact on student achievement in the country.
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