Senate passes education reform bills that would realign curriculum and fast-track principals
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved three bills that are part of a package of education reform legislation that was unveiled earlier this year.
The entire package of bills would bring a comprehensive reform to curriculum, instruction support, accountability, teacher certification, specialty skills certification, teacher assessments and the principal certification process.
The first bill (2019-S 0863Aaa), introduced by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, would require the Commissioner of Education to align statewide academic standards with curriculum and the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System. It would also require the Commissioner to develop curriculum frameworks, which are broad, research-based instructional strategies for educators to help students develop the skills, competencies, and knowledge called for by the statewide standards.
“This bill would ensure that our academic standards set forth the skills, competencies, and knowledge expected of each student. The curriculum will align with those standards, and the frameworks would provide strategies to help meet the diverse needs of our students, closing any gaps that exist,” said Senator Gallo. “The bills seek to bring about a culture change within our education system so that the talented professionals at the Department of Education can shift from ensuring compliance to assisting schools with on the ground – or in the classroom – support. We need educators, not regulators.”
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5008A) has been introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.
Under the second bill (2019-S 0864A), sponsored by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would become a professional support partner with local education agencies regarding effective ways to evaluate student improvement and proficiency. The department would support local schools by providing a comprehensive understanding of how curriculum affects those schools based on their specific characteristics, such as size, budget, and demographics.
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 6111) has been introduced by Rep. Daniel P. McKiernan (D-Dist. 7, Providence).
The third bill (2019-S 0869), sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a fast-track program to certify new principals. Applicants to the program must have at least 10 years of experience as an “effective” or “highly effective” teacher, a recommendation from the superintendent where they have taught, a record of leadership and a master’s degree.
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 6085) has been introduced by Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket).
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903