TITLE 16
Education

CHAPTER 16-11.4
Rhode Island Certification Standards Board [See Title 16 Chapter 97 – The Rhode Island Board of Education Act]

SECTION 16-11.4-6


§ 16-11.4-6. Right to read act.

(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Right to Read Act."

(b) No later than 2025, the following shall have proficient knowledge and skills to teach reading consistent with the best practices of scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction:

(1) A person who completes a state-approved educator preparation program; and

(2) A person seeking teacher licensure by reciprocity or by adding an endorsement.

In addition, no later than 2025, a person who completes a state-approved educator preparation program, other than a teacher of elementary education program, shall demonstrate an awareness of the best practices of scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction.

(c) Beginning no later than the 2024-2025 school year, each state-approved educator preparation program shall post on its website information describing its program to prepare teachers to teach reading with scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction; aligned with, but not limited to, the content measured by the stand-alone reading assessment adopted by the Rhode Island board of education act.

(d) Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, a public school district and an open-enrollment public charter school shall provide the following professional development in scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction:

(1) For teachers licensed at the elementary level, professional development for one of the prescribed pathways to obtaining a proficiency credential in knowledge and practices in scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction; and

(2) For teachers licensed at a level other than the elementary level, professional development for one of the prescribed pathways to obtaining an awareness credential in knowledge and practices in scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction.

(e) Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, a public school that does not provide the professional development pursuant to the provisions of subsection (d) shall:

(1) Be placed on probationary status; and

(2) Provide notice to parents that the public school district has not met the requirements of this section.

(f) By the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year:

(1) All teachers employed in a teaching position that requires an elementary education (K-6) license or (K-12) license shall demonstrate proficiency in knowledge and practices of scientific reading and structured literacy instruction; and

(2) All other teachers shall demonstrate awareness in knowledge and practices of scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction.

(g) All teachers who begin employment in the 2023-2024 school year and each school year thereafter shall demonstrate proficiency or awareness in knowledge and practices in scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction as is applicable to their teaching position by completing the prescribed proficiency or awareness in knowledge and practices of the scientific reading instruction credential and a structured literacy instruction credential either:

(1) As a condition of licensure; or

(2) Within one year if the teacher is:

(i) Already licensed; or

(ii) Employed under a waiver from licensure.

(h) A provider of a state-approved educator preparation program shall include in its annual report to the department of elementary and secondary education (the "department") a description of program to prepare educators to teach reading using scientific reading instruction and structured literacy instruction.

(i) A public school district that employs an educator in violation of this section or that does not provide the professional development as required under this section shall be in violation of the standards for accreditation of the Rhode Island board of education act, and the school district may be placed on probationary status by the department. A public school district placed on probationary status pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall send written notification to the parents of the students in the public school district of the reason for being placed on probationary status.

(j) A provider of a state-approved educator preparation program that does not comply with the requirements of this section may be subject to penalties up to and including having the provider's approval status revoked.

(k) The department is vested with the authority to, and shall enforce, this section.

(l) The department shall promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this section.

(m) As used in this section:

(1) The term "scientific reading instruction" means instruction that is instructional centered, empirically based, and further based on the study of the relationship between cognitive science and educational outcomes; and

(2) The term "structured literacy instruction" means an approach by which licensed personnel teach reading, which includes syllables, morphology, sound-symbol correspondence, semantics, and syntax, in an explicit, systematic, and diagnostic manner.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2019, ch. 112, § 1; P.L. 2019, ch. 155, § 1; P.L. 2020, ch. 79, art. 2, § 6.)