Rhode Island Governor Raimondo (D) presented her State of the State address last night, quickly followed by a rebuttal by House Minority Leader Blake Filippi. While Raimondo spoke at length about education, she admitted that the the system in Providence is “broken” and promised that the district would adopt new curriculum, increase access to Advanced Placement classes, invest in multilingual learners. But she made no mention at all of potentially opening up more school options for families who want to get their children out of the Providence Schools but lack the means to do so. Watch the Governor’s full speech here.
By contrast, Rep. Blake Filipipi (R) emphasized the the importance of options and called out state leaders for exercising choice for their own children and opposing it for other people’s children.
While he certainly agrees that a “primary civic duty must be to fix our education system,” he specifically noted that our secretary of state Nellie Gorbea, education commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Governor Raimondo all send their own children to private schools. (Infante-Green has said on the record that the people who oppose parents having options are the people who have options—I have never heard Raimondo or Gorbea say the same.)
Providence Teachers’ Union president Maribeth Calabro also sends her only child to private school.
Fillippi went on to rightly point out that, “in fact, fewer than half of the school-aged children of elected officials from Providence attend traditional public schools. And we cannot fault them for this — I would do the same. But we can fault them if they oppose these same choices for parents in failing schools who do not have the resources to send their kids elsewhere.” Watch Rep Filippi’s rebuttal here.
Enough with the hypocrisy and “choice for me, not for thee” ethos of our elected officials and power players. It is time to give more families access to the self determination and freedom parents of means already enjoy.