Improving Policy

Each year, we work in partnership with teachers, administrators, parents, students and other stakeholders from across the state to remove policy barriers and strengthen opportunities for preK-12 public school students.

Once we identify the most pressing issues, we engage our partners in advocating for solutions. We plug educators and community members into opportunities to contact their state and local leaders, sharing testimony, attending meetings, writing letters and much more. Over the years, we’ve advocated on behalf of a wide variety of issues, including school facilities aid and full-day Kindergarten, equitable funding and quality charter schools, to name a few. We’re especially proud of:

  • Our campaign to implement a student-centered funding formula for
    Rhode Island schools that is predictable, equitable, transparent, and simple;
  • Our work to direct funds and remove barriers for districts to
    implement full-day kindergarten and expand access to public pre-K;
  • Our support of Rhode Island’s high-quality charter schools,
    including Achievement First in Providence;
  • Our efforts to delay the teacher layoff notification date,
    allowing districts to better understand their budgets before sending
    out pink slips to their educators and potentially hurting school morale; and
  • Our advocacy to give traditional public schools charter-like flexibilities to
    implement new and proven strategies to raise student achievement.

Share Promising Practices and Stories

In addition to our policy work, we also seek to change the narrative around public education in Rhode Island to help stakeholders believe, as we do, that all kids truly can succeed. We do this by sharing promising practices from changing-the-odds schools and by elevating the diverse voices and opinions of Rhode Island educators, students, parents and education advocates. We do this in a variety of ways, including:

  • Our blog, which helps Rhode Islanders weigh in on key education
    opportunities and challenges facing the state; and
  • Our focus on connecting community members with opportunities to share
    their stories and ideas through the media, directly with legislators and more.

The 50CAN Model

RI-CAN is a chapter of 50CAN, a locally led, nationally supported nonprofit that aims to build enduring, research-backed advocacy campaigns that find a path to success no matter which way the political winds are blowing or the obstacles standing in the way of change.

50CAN works to find, connect and support local leaders in states across the country to help them improve educational policies in their communities.

  • 50CAN identifies outstanding education leaders in each state and gives
    them an opportunity to lead as executive directors, staff, board members,
    philanthropists and advocates through the creation of a CAN.
  • 50CAN builds deep connections between state campaigns so that they can
    learn from one another, share strategies, adopt best practices and pool resources.
  • 50CAN makes it easier for leaders to do incredibly high-quality work and
    more quickly get results by taking back-office work off their plates and
    providing best-in-class tools and trainings.