WHEREAS, The Rhode Island General Assembly is desirous that the public schools in Rhode Island become safer, more secure, and more tolerant, and produce students who are better leaders, higher achievers, and more prepared for further education or work; and
WHEREAS, The Rhode Island General Assembly is concerned with the many troubling trends affecting youth: rising violence, increasing dishonesty, growing disrespect for authority, resurging bigotry, increasing early sexual activity, growing self-centeredness, declining civic responsibility, and expanding self-destructive behavior; and
WHEREAS, The Rhode Island General Assembly recognizes that, in the face of the deteriorating social fabric, parents, schools and other community institutions, working together as partners, must increasingly contribute to the development of good character in the young through both teaching and modeling; and
WHEREAS, It is the mission of the Rhode Island public schools to provide all learners with the skills and knowledge needed to become successful, productive, and responsible members of society; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Rhode Island General Assembly recognize that character education is one of those needed skills, and, therefore, endorse character education as an integral part of the teaching and learning process in the Rhode Island public schools; character education is defined as being based on eight key values: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, love of country, civic duty, and work ethic; and be it further.
RESOLVED, That no character development program in a public school shall undermine traditional religious values or lawful parental authority.
That the Rhode Island General Assembly request the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to ensure that character education become pervasive throughout all public elementary and secondary schools in the state by taking the following actions:
Encourage all public schools in Rhode Island to include character education as one of the features of their strategic plans and to adopt a statement of goals and objectives for character education, because schools need to look at themselves and consider how everything that goes on in the school affects the values and character of the students.
Provide leadership and support to schools through the provision of state standards, resource consultants and appropriate materials to assist districts and schools to develop plans and statements on character development and implement school-wide character development programs, because to effectuate change requires the appropriate tools.
Review all professional development programs submitted by districts and schools to encourage the inclusion of character development, because if the environment is to change, so must the teaching force.
Recognize schools and teachers that have made exemplary character development efforts, because good practices should be noted and shared.
That the Rhode Island General Assembly request the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education to encourage that the teacher education programs in the public institutions of higher education address character development as a critical feature in the preparation of new teachers and the professional development of existing teachers, because the best place to initiate the teaching force is prior to entry; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education and the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.