§ 16-90-2. Findings of fact.
The general assembly makes the following findings of fact:.
(1) The high schools of the state of Rhode Island play an integral role in preparing students for college and work in the 21st century. The high school outcomes improvement act recognizes that high school success is more important than ever for the health of our economy, for civic life, and to ensure equal opportunity. It is of critical importance to the success of our public high schools to prepare all students for college and work in the 21st century.
(2) Without accurate data on graduation rates it is extremely difficult to evaluate the efficacy of the state's system of public education. Better information can lead to better policies and program implementation.
(3) Parents and community members, who are critical to ensuring strong educational accountability, are hampered in their efforts to improve our schools if they do not have accurate data.
(4) It is of critical importance that accurate data be collected, maintained, analyzed and publicly reported by our state's education system with respect to high school student graduation rates.
(5) In the state of Rhode Island, existing data from independent researchers indicates that when graduation rates are broken down by racial and ethnic group, by students with disabilities compared to their non-disabled peers, by English language learners and by socio-economically disadvantaged students compared to non-disadvantaged peers, that many of these sub-groups are experiencing particularly low rates of high school graduation.
(6) Ultimately, the state of Rhode Island is committed to develop and implement a student-unit-record data system, with unique student identifiers that can track students through the state's education system from kindergarten through post-secondary education.
(7) The state must commit to developing and maintaining a data and public reporting system that accurately accounts for all students when calculating high school graduation rates and informs the public of progress toward the goal of universal high school graduation.
(P.L. 2009, ch. 204, § 1.)