Rep. O’Brien blasts RIDE for failure to follow laws on principal evaluations and dyslexia screenings
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) is voicing his displeasure with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) after he discovered that the department was in violation of two state laws that deal with principal evaluations and dyslexia screening in elementary schools.
“After attempting to secure a meeting with the Education Commissioner for the past several weeks to discuss these important issues, I have been forced to bring these violations into the public spotlight. It is quite troublesome that RIDE appears to be ignoring these laws at the detriment of our state’s children and educators and I will continue to press RIDE until they are in full compliance of Rhode Island law,” said Representative O’Brien.
Representative O’Brien is taking issue with two Rhode Island General Laws that he believes RIDE is violating (16-12-1 & 16-12-11). 16-12-1 includes principals in its definition of the term “teacher” and 16-12-11 relates to educator evaluations. Representative O’Brien believes RIDE is in violation of the laws by subjecting principals to annual evaluations, contrary to the provisions laid out in the state’s General Laws.
“The law clearly states that principals are included in the definition of ‘teachers’, yet they are treated differently in being evaluated every single year. These evaluations take away precious time these principals need to properly manage their schools and I urge RIDE to begin following the laws that are set forth in our state,” added Representative O’Brien.
Representative O’Brien is also pointing out that RIDE has ignored a law (2016-H 7052) passed in 2016 that adds dyslexia-targeted screening and assistance as a required aspect of the literacy program for students at the elementary grade-level. The law requires RIDE to offer to school districts, at no cost, training and professional development services to enhance the skills of elementary teachers in the use of evidence-based strategies to improve literacy skills of students with dyslexia.
“All of our school districts should be vigorously screening our young school children for signs of dyslexia and other reading disabilities. The fact that this law has not been followed by RIDE is a complete disservice to our children, especially to those who need help the most in regards to literacy,” concluded Representative O’Brien.
Representative O’Brien also believes RIDE is violating the rights of school nurses, school guidance counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists by applying different rules to them as compared to that of classroom teachers. He states that all of these workers must have teaching certificates and must be treated the same.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903