Senate passes several education bills, including financial literacy, dual language immersion
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved several education-related bills. The legislation tackles everything from dual language immersion to financial literacy.
“These bills really focus on the specifics that the Senate would like to address when it comes to education reform,” said Sen. Hanna Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. “There are several education initiatives that we’ve been discussing in the Senate for the past few years, and we really think these bills are an integral part of bringing about the changes we are all looking for in our schools.”
Included in the proposed legislation is a bill (2019-S 0112A) sponsored by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) that would mandate that a program of financial literacy be taught to all students in public high schools throughout the state of Rhode Island. The curriculum of the program would include, but not be limited to, budgeting, maintaining credit, saving, investing, and protecting and insuring assets.
“Financial literacy is just as important to navigate the complexities of adult life as other school subjects and it must be included in our schools’ curriculums,” said Senator Cano. “If all of our children are not receiving proper financial knowledge at home, which we know is the case, it is our duty to teach them these crucial and valuable life skills at school.”
Also passed was the World Language and Dual Language Immersion Act (2019-S 0198) sponsored by Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence). The program educates students using both English and a second language for all instruction during the day. In some programs, the educational day may even be broken up so that all lessons are taught in either language.
“Our society has changed and the demographics of our population, especially in our schools, is no longer adequately served by the old model of language instruction and education,” said Senator Ciccone. “Our global economy and society requires multi-lingual future workers and in order for our children to be successful in this expansive multi-lingual world, we must prepare them with dual-language immersion programs in our public schools.”
The Senate also passed the following education-related bills:
(2019-S 0046) — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland, would allow, upon approval by the local school committee, a school district to conduct instruction through virtual education for up to five days when schools have been closed due to inclement weather, emergency or any nonscheduled school closing.
(2019-S 0115) — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), would provide increased school housing aid for communities that utilize resident architectural firms, for the architectural services included in a new school or school renovation project.
(2019-S 0119) — This bill, sponsored by Senator Gallo, would require that all high school students attending public schools fulfill at least one-half credit or course requirement in civics education, commencing with the graduating class of 2020.
(2019-S 0199) — This bill, sponsored by Senator Gallo, would mandate that public school classroom size be limited to 20 students for kindergarten through grade 2. Exceptions are made for emergencies and temporary situations not to exceed three days and for mid-year enrollments when it would be impractical to assign the student any class but an existing class of maximum size.
(2019-S 0653) — This bill, sponsored by Senator Gallo, would establish courses that include instruction in career and technical education programs, including knowledge of careers and all types of employment opportunities, including, but not limited to, registered apprenticeships with the emphasizes on the advantages of completing school with marketable skills.
(2019-S 0657) — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), would mandate that the state seal of biliteracy be awarded by the commissioner beginning with the class of 2020. The seal is established to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English.
(2019-S 0755) — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), would exempt those students in grade 12 who are enrolled full-time in a dual enrollment program where the courses are taken on a college campus from the requirement that they complete health and physical education courses.
The measures now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903