School Options

School choice is the process of allowing every family to choose the K-12 educational options that best fit their children.

Traditional Public Schools — Free to Attend, Widely Available

Traditional public schools are available for families throughout the state. States that allow families access to their choice of traditional public schools offer what’s called “open enrollment.” Rhode Island parents should check with their local school district if they wish to participate in open enrollment, since the state allows districts to set their own open enrollment policies.

Charter Public Schools — Free to Attend, Widely Available

Charter schools are public schools that are allowed the freedom to innovate while being held accountable for student achievement. Public charter schools are available for families across Rhode Island. These schools can be opened after they are authorized by the state.

Magnet Public Schools — Free to Attend, Widely Available

Public magnet schools are permitted in all 50 states and focus on specific themes, such as math, science, technology, or the performing arts.

Online Public Schools — Not Available

Online public schools are permanent, fully-online, and free educational options that teach students through digital classes. NSCW was unable to find a free, full-time online school in Rhode Island, but paid options are available.

Private Schools — Free to Some, Widely Available

Private schools are widely available, charge tuition, and may be faith-based or independent. Many private schools or nonprofit organizations offer scholarships. Rhode Island families below a certain income level may qualify for a state-run scholarship program. Additional funding may be available from other sources.

Home Education — Widely Available

All parents in Rhode Island have the freedom to homeschool their children. Parents must provide an annual notification to the state (or school district) of their intent to homeschool. The state requires homeschooling parents to teach certain subjects, but does not require homeschoolers to take standardized tests.

National School Choice Roadmap

MCH Strategic Data, in partnership with Esri, have created a map to keep you informed of the rapid changes and impact of COVID-19 on school reopening plans and operations at the district level. This resource tracks school district reopening data, learning models, sports participation, distance learning investments, and more. Updates are made daily and new, timely insights will be added as the data is available.