The General Assembly today approved legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) that would create a joint study commission to examine the governance structure of Rhode Island’s public education system.
According to the resolution (2022-H 7784, 2022-S 2442), the commission will be to study, review, and make recommendations on how to most efficiently and effectively administer the governance of the Pre-K through 16 public education system in Rhode Island.
“In light of the unique challenges that face our schools today, it’s a good idea to take a step back and analyze the way the state manages public education,” said Representative McNamara, who chairs the House Education Committee. “Those challenges have only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and distance learning. This commission would go a long way in addressing some of those issues through the lens of school governance.”
The legislation is needed to ensure that children are being properly served in school and sponsors point to the current state takeover of the Providence Public School District as an issue that will be examined on the commission.
“In 2013, the General Assembly established the current governance structure for pre-kindergarten through higher education,” said Senator DiPalma. “It is imperative we formally assess the effectiveness and efficiency of this structure, especially when examining it through the lens of the approximately 140,000 Pre-K to secondary students and approximately 30,000 higher education students.”
The special joint commission will be made up of five members of the Senate and five members of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House.