2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Rhode Island’s tax-credit scholarship program, enacted in 2006 and launched in 2007, offers a 75 percent tax credit to businesses that donate to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) or 90 percent if donated for two consecutive years and the second year’s donation is worth at least 80 percent of the first year’s donation. SGOs are non-profits that offer private school scholarships of varying amounts to students from low-income households.
Charter Schools Score: 62%
Rhode Island’s charter school law is weak as incredibly restrictive cap has limited the growth of charter schools.
Rhode Island’s charter law allows for the state charter school board to authorize up to 30 charter schools state wide. This limitation on the number of charter schools has essentially stopped all charter school growth since the state is up against the cap. Without new schools the demand for charter schools continues to grow but the supply cannot meet that demand.
Rhode Island earned a D rating on the Center For Education Reform’s newest charter school law rankings. While Rhode Island provides a very equitable amount of operating funds (especially compared to other states that scored a D), a hard charter school cap of 35 schools, and the fact that the state makes all charter school authorizing opinions without appeal, Rhode Island’s grade and ensured they earned a D.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed: 1995
- Number of Charter Schools: 29
- Estimated Charter School Enrollment: 8,000 (up 11percent from 2015-16)
- Rhode Island has a cap of 35 charter schools
- Virtual Schools permitted as long as they have some face to face contact
- Charters Can Contract with EMOs and CMOs for management services
- Rhode Island earned a three out of fifteen for authorizers. Rhode Island’ only allows for one entity, the State Board of Education, to authorize charter schools (without appeal). While the State Board is preferable to having solely districts authorize schools, having multiple entities who are able to authorize charter schools (even districts) would be preferable because they would provide another option for charter schools to be authorized which may better fit the needs of the specific school. Having a variety of schools that operate differently is the hallmark of a successful charter school environment, unfortunately, having one authorizer ensures that this will not happen. Having a variety of schools that operate differently is the hallmark of a successful charter school environment and having one authorizer ensures that this will not happen. Additionally with only one authorizer, there is a large potential for regulations from the authorizer since every charter school needs to be authorized by the same entity and cannot pick one that is less regulative.
- Rhode Island scored a two out of fifteen for growth. Not only does Rhode Island have a restrictive cap of only allowing thirty five charter schools to be authorized, but their law does not facilitate easy expansion for established and successful providers. These limitations on the charter school market hurt the ability for schools to meet the needs of students.
- Rhode Island earned an eight out of twenty for operations. The commissioner of education is empowered to create rules and regulations for charter schools. In order to get out of these regulations, charter schools need to apply for a waiver. However, they need to be free to operate as they see fit and regulations often will get in the way of them doing so. When charter schools have to ask for their freedom they don’t actually have any which means they’re less effective for kids. Additionally, Charter school teachers must be certified in the same manner that traditional public school teachers are. The sole effect of this policy is that it prevents individuals who have not gone through the bureaucratic measures of teacher certification from working with students even if the charter schools thinks they are the right individual for the job.
Rhode Island earns a seven out of fifteen for funding Equity. The weighted student formula in Rhode Island, which began in the 2011-12 school year uses the same funding formula as conventional schools, and is supposed to fund charters at 100 percent of traditional public school funding by the end of the seven-year policy rollout. Local monies will come direct from the district. State deducts five percent from the state revenue formula and gives that money to the school district as impact aid
Online Learning Score: 75%
Two blended learning charters opened their doors in September 2013 and districts began receiving grants from the Wireless Classroom Initiative, providing $20 million to expand wireless access to classrooms. Rhode Island requires student performance data be used to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers.
Teacher Quality Score: 82%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers B-
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B-
Identifying Effective Teachers C+
Retaining Effective Teachers D+
Exiting Ineffective Teachers C+