By ALEX MALM
The Council on Elementary and Secondary Education is set to vote on a proposal soon from the Rhode Island Department of Education to change graduation requirements starting with the …
By ALEX MALM
The Council on Elementary and Secondary Education is set to vote on a proposal soon from the Rhode Island Department of Education to change graduation requirements starting with the class of 2027.
The Warwick School Committee on Tuesday voted on a resolution that would ask the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education to “defer any action on the proposed High School graduation requirements until the Department reports to them on the costs to LEAs of its implementation.”
Vice Chair David Testa asked that the resolution be put on the agenda. He said they got language from the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, which provided language that school committees could use if they decided to put a resolution forward.
“We’re concerned about additional costs, and we're concerned if any of these things are going to be integrated into the basic education plan,” said Testa.
One of the major proposed changes would require students to take two years of world language.
Currently students aren’t required to take any modern language classes in order to graduate.
“If you’re going to require that then you're going to need language teachers,” said Testa.
Warwick Superintendent Lynn Dambruch previously told the Beacon “there's not enough certified foreign language teachers in Rhode Island.”
Cranston Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse said that she is also concerned with staffing.
“We’re having great difficulty finding staff in the area,” said Nota-Masse.
School Committee Chair Daniel Wall said Cranston’s school committee is not planning on developing a resolution like Warwick.
In response to the concerns over foreign language staff in the state Victor Morente, a spokesperson for RIDE said via an email in March “We hear that concern and we are actively working with our higher education institutions and the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner to address the issue.”
“It’s deeply important that we find a solution that prepares our students to go to college if they choose to, and both Rhode Island College and University of RI require that incoming students have credits in world language,” said Morente. “We must have a conversation about the impact this is having on our students educational opportunities available to them after high school, especially for economically disadvantaged students and students of color.”
According to a presentation provided by Warwick Assistant Superintendent Bill McCaffrey, the proposed requirements would require 20 credits in the following areas:
4 credits in ELA
4 credits in mathematics, including Algebra I, II, and Geometry
3 credits in science, including two lab courses
3 credits in history/Social Studies
2 credits in Modern World Language (same language)
1 additional college preparatory credit
3 credits in art, computer science, PE/HealthAside from the lack of staffing for foreign language another area of concern that was pointed out by McCaffrey is that it “affords little time for planning, staffing, supplies, and facilities needed.”
In a statement ahead of the School Committee meeting Darlene Netcoh said that she is in full support of the resolution.
“While the new curricula that the General Assembly mandated in 2021 are valuable, RIDE’s latest schemes will result in yet more unfunded mandates and demonstrate a disregard for the harsh fiscal realities that public schools face,” said Netcoh. “Other school committees should follow the lead of the WSC, whose request of a fiscal impact statement from RIDE is very wise, and if RIDE desires LEAs to implement its proposals, then RIDE should provide the funding.”
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