§ 16-45-1.1. Declaration of policy.
(a) The overall mission of vocational education in Rhode Island is to develop programs and services from elementary level through secondary, postsecondary, and adult levels to prepare students for productive employment or additional education without prematurely limiting them to a particular occupational or educational choice.
(b) Vocational education is defined as a state approved educational program below the baccalaureate level taught by a properly certified teacher, designed to:
(1) Prepare individuals for gainful employment in recognized and/or emerging clusters of related occupations;
(2) Assist individuals in making informed occupational choices; and
(3) Upgrade individuals already in an occupational field.
(c) Pre-vocational education is defined as instruction which introduces students to a variety of employment opportunities and which facilitates the process of choosing a career appropriate to a student's interest and aptitude.
(d) The following principles apply to the development and operation of all vocational programs, activities, and services:
(1)(i) Access. All youth and adults who choose vocational education shall have access to those programs.
(ii) A public awareness program shall provide information regarding state approved vocational programs to students and their parents in their native language.
(iii) A full range of programs and supplemental services shall be provided for those students whose previous achievements and preparation indicate that additional support is necessary for them to succeed in vocational education.
(iv) Admissions criteria and assessment procedures shall promote equal access, enrollment, and participation in vocational programs regardless of age, sex, race, limited English proficiency, disadvantagement, or disability.
(2) Purpose. (i) The purpose of vocational education is preparation for direct placement into the world of work consistent with economic development needs and/or preparation for postsecondary education.
(ii) Vocational preparation aims at:
(A) The development of academic, technical, problem solving, critical thinking skills, and concepts related to a cluster of allied occupations as well as specific job entry requirements.
(B) Graduating students with an understanding of the total enterprise of an occupational field and the ability to adapt to technological change.
(iii) Vocational assessment, guidance, support services, bilingual resources, placement services, and transitional planning should be provided to all students appropriate to their individual needs.
(iv) Student understanding of community needs, conditions of employment, and skills or attributes are best gained in the work environment through cooperative education, and other work related programs of instruction.
(v) Vocational programs shall be organized for maximum articulation between educational levels.
(3)(i) Participation. There shall be broad representation and full participation in planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating vocational programs.
(ii) A comprehensive and coordinated system of vocational education can best be achieved by the collective action of many agencies of which the school is the major one.
(iii) Vocational programs should be developed with participation from students, parents, educators, workers and representatives of labor, community based organizations, business, and special populations.
(P.L. 1987, ch. 601, § 2; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 33; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 33.)