§ 16-22-30. Statewide academic standards.
(a) The council on elementary and secondary education (the "council") shall direct the commissioner of elementary and secondary education (the "commissioner") to institute a process to develop statewide academic standards for the core subjects of mathematics, English language arts, science and technology, history and social studies, world languages, and the arts. This process shall:
(1) Be open and consultative;
(2) Include, but need not be limited to, a culturally and racially diverse group of classroom teachers and students; and
(3) Include, but need not be limited to, reviewing and revising current standards, as well as adopting new ones, if deemed appropriate.
(b) The commissioner shall develop the statewide academic standards pursuant to this section by no later than December 31, 2019, and again as required by the council's procedures set forth in subsection (f) of this section. The standards shall:
(1) Cover grades prekindergarten through grade twelve (PK-12);
(2) Clearly set forth the skills, competencies, and knowledge expected to be demonstrated by all students at the conclusion of individual grades or grade spans;
(3) Be formulated so as to set high expectations for student performance;
(4) Provide clear and specific examples that embody and reflect these high expectations;
(5) Be constructed with due regard to the established research and recommendations of national organizations, to the best of similar efforts in other states, and to the level of skills, competencies, and knowledge possessed by typical students in the most educationally-advanced nations. The skills, competencies, and knowledge set forth in the standards shall define the performance outcomes expected of both students directly entering the workforce and of students pursuing higher education. In addition, the skills, competencies, and knowledge set forth in the standards shall inform the design and implementation of the Rhode Island comprehensive assessment system ("RICAS") in mathematics, English language arts, and science and technology. The RICAS shall align with federal law, be in place for no fewer than ten (10) years, and facilitate comparisons of students of other states and nations;
(6) Be designed to instill respect for the cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity of this state, and for the contributions made by diverse cultural, ethnic, and racial groups to the life of this state;
(7) Be designed to avoid perpetuating gender, cultural, ethnic, or racial stereotypes;
(8) Reflect sensitivity to different learning styles;
(9) Reflect sensitivity to impediments to learning, which may include issues related to, but not limited to, cultural, financial, emotional, health, and social factors; and
(10) Be in a form readily comprehensible by the general public.
(c) This section shall not require the abandonment of any standards already in place, so long as the commissioner determines that these standards meet the statewide goals contained herein.
(d) The commissioner shall submit a copy of the standards to the council for approval at least sixty (60) days prior to the standards taking effect.
(e) Upon approval, the council shall make the standards available to the public.
(f) The council shall develop procedures for updating, improving, or refining standards pursuant to this section by no later than September 1, 2021. The procedures shall include a requirement that the council review and evaluate the standards regularly to ensure that the high quality of the standards is maintained. The review cycle shall begin in 2025, with subsequent reviews taking place in 2029, 2033, and every four (4) years thereafter.
(g) On or before December 1, 2020, and annually thereafter on or before December 1, the commissioner shall report to the governor, president of the senate, and the speaker of the house, regarding the standards developed and reviewed pursuant to this section.
(P.L. 2019, ch. 89, § 1; P.L. 2019, ch. 150, § 1.)