“While we acknowledge that our high school graduation requirements needed updating, and there are aspects to this update we applaud, there are still significant concerns we share within the new proposed requirements,” said Representatives Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence), O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) and Solomon (D-Dist. 22, Warwick).
“In particular, these updated proposed requirements would afford little time for the necessary planning, staffing, supply allocation, and establishment of proper facilities that is mandated by the new requirements. We are also concerned that the new requirement that students complete two credits in world languages could be at odds with the established policies for existing and future English language learners. We also have serious reservations regarding the ability to not only find sufficient personnel to teach these requirements, as well as finding the funding for this and other proposed programs.
“Our concerns also apply to requiring a computer science credit to graduate in that it may take away from arts programs. The Rhode Island Music Education Association and the Rhode Island Art Education Association oppose this plan, saying that the proposed requirements do not include fine arts courses and that it will decrease the time students have to accommodate, learn from and enjoy arts education. This concern is compounded by the emphasis on ‘college readiness’ that will limit opportunities for our students who are more interested in career pathways rather than higher education.
“While we are enthusiastic supporters of giving access to college preparatory classes to all students, our fear is that the new proposed graduation requirements will force students to take classes that they will not need or use later in life, such as advanced mathematics courses, while also forcing these students to forego classes that may interest and spur their educational growth and success, such as arts, music or trades programs. Everyone knows that our educational system is in need of change but now is the time to focus on the significant learning losses and the chronic absenteeism that has resulted from the pandemic. We must address these serious issues first to ensure that the changes we make to our graduation requirements are beneficial to every student in Rhode Island,” concluded Representatives Amore, O’Brien and Solomon.