Public discourse is always important, but never is it more necessary than when it comes to the education of our city’s youth.
Education provides the foundation for students to become individuals with the intelligence to make sound decisions not only in their own lives, but also when they are the decision makers for the city of Warwick.
In early April a proposal for a new mayoral academy was made and ever since, people are taking sides for or against the school and oddly enough for the same reason – the benefit of the Warwick students.
One side says that Kent County Prep, as it will be called, offers students choices in their education before the undergraduate level, that the school will offer a beneficial and updated method of education to better its students. The other, in the tradition of utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, believes that because taxpayer money will follow those students who opt for the charter school, the majority of students will be significantly hurt.
Both sides have sound arguments and that is the reason there needs to be a thorough discussion of the matter. A pertinent issue comes in the funding of the school. Taxpayer dollars will follow a student to whichever school they attend. Yes, that money would be reallocated from the school department’s funds and with Kent County Prep expecting 25 percent of their student body to be made of Warwick students, that’s approximately 125 kids. It is money lost for the Warwick system, but also it is an opportunity for students that may need a more individualized path in their education.
Mayor Scott Avedisian said we need to have a discussion about the future of public education, whether or not that has to do with Kent County Prep. It does, however, serve as a catalyst to start the conversation.
But doing the best for students does not mean sticking to your opinion when your principles demand more information. The public hearing on Monday will have a presentation of the proposed school as well as offer the opportunity to the public to ask question and speak on their opinions.
The Rhode Island Board of Education will make the ultimate decision.
We all want to do the best for the children of Warwick and we can best serve the students by being well informed. We implore all to keep an open mind for the sake of Warwick’s public student body and attend the public hearings at Coventry Town Hall on Monday the 16th and Wednesday the 18th at 6 p.m.