Rhode Island Senator Alana DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) has proposed a set of bills aimed at providing more power to teachers and parents in making decisions regarding education. The bills are designed to address the gap between policymakers and those working in schools by giving educators and parents a greater voice in policy-making.
The first bill would appoint the Rhode Island Teacher of the Year as a non-voting member of the Board of Education, enabling them to serve a one-year term after their tenure as teacher of the year has ended. The goal is to improve decision-making by having a teacher with hands-on experience in the classroom on the board.
The second bill seeks to strengthen parent-teacher partnerships by requiring schools to obtain parental consent before conducting evaluations or making any initial placements of a student in a special education program. This would also require schools to obtain parental consent before any changes are made to IEP services or placements.
The third bill aims to provide support for students and teachers following the tragic death of an educator or student. It allows for five-day flexible schedules, giving schools time to make announcements, train staff, and provide grief counseling for students and educators.
Senator DiMario said the bills empower teachers and parents, allowing them to work as a team to ensure that children receive the best possible education. The Senator believes that by amplifying the voices of educators, policies will be improved to better serve students.
Read more about the proposed legislation here.