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7/21/2015 Rep. Lancia to attend conferences on school choice, educational reform
STATE HOUSE — Using the off-session as an opportunity to keep himself informed, Rep. Robert Lancia (R-Dist. 16, Cranston) will be attending three separate conferences on educational issues this year.

One conference, called School Choice in America, is sponsored by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and will take place in Boston in August.

The purpose of the conference is to improve the knowledge and effectiveness of elected officials and to provide research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing education policy issues.

“Educational reform and school choice were such important issues this session,” said Representative Lancia. “And they promise to be of even greater importance next session. These conferences will give me an opportunity to exchange ideas with other legislators, hear what everyone has to say, and educate myself on what is becoming one of the most important issues Rhode Island is facing today.”

Another conference, which takes place in Denver in October, is the 2015 National Summit on Education sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education. The foundation was launched in 2009 in response to requests for assistance from lawmakers and policymakers who were interested in advancing educational reforms.

Representative Lancia will also be attending a seminar in Boston that gives a historical perspective on school choice. Called “Know-Nothings’ Nativism, Catholic Education, and School Choice,” the forum will focus on the wave of anti-Catholic bigotry that swept Massachusetts in the 19th century, which was the basis for state constitutional amendments that blocked wider access to private and parochial schools.

“Know-Nothings” was the nickname of members of the Native American Party, which came to prominence in New England in the 1850s. Its members promised to purify American politics by limiting or eliminating the influence of Irish Catholics and other immigrants. Led by former President Millard Fillmore, the party fragmented over the issue of slavery and had collapsed by the late 1850s.

“There are so many facets to the issue of school choice and educational reform, that I want to learn as much as I can and exchange as many ideas as I can with others,” said Representative Lancia. “I believe these conferences, which collectively offer the latest thoughts on reform, as well as historical perspectives on school choice will equip me with everything I need to know to make informed decisions on those educational issues which affect Rhode Island.”

The tuition and travel expenses for the conferences are being paid for by the organizations that host them.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903