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NEW: Hodgson Wants To Slow Down Transition to State Board of Education

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Ever since the end of the 2012 legislative session, there has been a move to rapidly transfer full governing power of public education to the newly-created State Board of Education but at least one General Assembly member wants to slow things down a bit.

Senator Dawson Hodgson, a Republican from District 35, has filed legislation calling for the General Assembly to review and approve an administrative plan for public education before the power is given over to the new body of government.

“It is my belief that delivering a high quality public education is a moral and economic duty of government,” Hodgson said today. “Fundamental changes to this system should be given a high degree of scrutiny and consideration. That has not happened here."

The new State Board of Education is set to replace the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Governors for Higher Education, which had governed Rhode Island’s K-12 public schools and state colleges, respectively.

This restructuring was a late addition to the state budget in June 2012 and no hearings were conducted concerning its impact on education policy.

The new law became effective January 1, 2013 but Governor Lincoln Chafee’s nominations to the board were not given until after that date and have yet to be confirmed by the state Senate, leaving it unclear who would govern education in the meantime.

Under Hodgson’s proposal, the previous boards would resume power until the General Assembly approved the new administrative plan.

“A unified Board of Education may turn out to be in the best interests of Rhode Island's students and economy, but that is very hard to predict when there is no plan in place as to how it will be implemented,” Hodgson said. “I feel strongly that legislators should know what the plan looks like before we create one of the most powerful non-elected boards in the state."


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