Bryant to Host Constitutional Convention Forum on March 29
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Bryant University has announced it will host an event entitled “A Constitutional Convention for Rhode Island?” on March 29th from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The forum is sponsored by the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University, the Roger Williams University School of Law, Common Cause Rhode Island, and the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island.
The program will focus on the upcoming vote to authorize a constitutional convention, and if passed, the selection of delegates, and the mechanics of a convention and subsequent referenda. National experts will discuss the design and legal status of state constitutions, and focus on the process of state constitutional reform across the states. Another group will discuss whether Rhode Island should have a constitutional convention and, if so, what areas of the Rhode Island constitution may be in need of amendment.
The upcoming program will feature many national experts including the following:
- John Marion, Executive Director, Common Cause Rhode Island
- Professor Robert Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies, Rutgers University School of Law-Camden
- Professor G. Alan Tarr, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers University-Camden
- Justice Robert Flanders Jr., former Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, Partner at Hinckley Allen
- Steven Brown, Executive Director, Rhode Island ACLU
- Professor Ross Cheit, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Brown University
- Professor Jared Goldstein, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law
Professor Diana Hassel, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Roger Williams University School of Law and Gary Sasse, Founding Director of the Hassenfeld Institute, Bryant University, will serve as moderators.
For further details please contact the Hassenfeld institute at [email protected] or call (401)232-6193. Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 9th. Log on to https://riconconquestion.eventbrite.com/ to register.
Related Slideshow: RI Experts on the Biggest Issues Facing Public Education
On Friday November 22, the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University, the Latino Policy Institute of Roger Williams University, the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, the Providence Student Union, and RI-CAN: Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now will host Rhode Island leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors for a symposium on "the civil rights issue of the 21st century, adequacy and equity and the State of Education in Rhode Island."
Weighing in on the the "three biggest factors" facing education in the state today are symposium participatnts Gary Sasse, Founding Director of the Hassenfeld Institute for Leadership; Christine Lopes Metcalfe, Executive Director of RI-CAN; Anna Cano-Morales, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, Central Falls Public Schools and Director, Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University; Tim Duffy, Executive Director, RI Association of School Committees; and Deborah Cylke, Superintendent of Pawtucket Public Schools.
"Provide a state constitutional guarantee that all children will have access to an education that will prepare them to meet high performance standards and be successful adults.
Bridge the gap between the educational achievement of majority and minority students. This will require the implementation of a comprehensive agenda for quality education in Rhode Island’s inner cities."
"Revisit school governance and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the state, school districts , neighborhood schools, and school teachers and school administrators. Develop and implement a system to hold schools responsible for student outcomes."
"Build a consensus and buy in of all stakeholders around the education reform initiatives being advanced by the Board of Education."
"Set high expectations and raise our standards across the state for anyone that contributes to the success of our students. From adopting the Common Core to discussing rigorous teacher evaluations, conversations around creating a culture of high expectations have to be at the center of the work."
"Expand opportunities and start earlier - we must ensure that all kids have access to a high performing public school of their choice, which includes full-day kindergarten."
"School facilities - with an aging infrastructure, underutilized buildings and the need to provide fair funding for school facilities for all public school students regardless of the public school they attend, this needs to be a top issue tackled by the RI General Assembly in 2014."
"Meet the academic potential of all students but especially with regards to urban schools students -- 3 out of 4 are Latinos in Providence, Central Falls, and Pawtucket."
"Connect through specific best practices the academic successes of our students to careers jobs. Investing in schools is economic development as a whole for Rhode Island. "
"Increase the access to -- and completion of -- higher education and post- secondary opportunities. Poverty? Struggling families? Education and access to careers and competitive wages is the best antidote."
"Providing adequate funding is critical -- and there are going to be pressures on the state budget, which mean stresses to meet the education funding formula. With the predictions of the state's projected loss of revenue with the casinos in MA, education funding could be on the cutting board, and we need to ensure that it's not. Do we need to look at strengthening the language of the constitution to guarantee funding?"
"Implementing the common core standards will provide continuity -- and comparison -- between states now. With over 40 states involved, we're embarking a new set of standards here."
"Accountability and assessing student performance -- how that it's driven by the common core, we'll be able to compare the best districts in RI against the best districts in say MA. That's the intent of the Common Core is a standardization of how we hold the system accountable."
"Issue one is quality. Your quality of education should not be dependent on your zip code. And the reality is, certain cities are distressed, or whose property values are not as high, I know each town has a different capacity to fund education. There's an absolute, clear relationship between the quality of public schools, and economic development of states. There's irrefutable evidence that quality public schools can make states more competitive."
"Issue two is equality. In West Warwick and Providence, the per pupil spending is around $16K. In Pawtucket it's $12.9. What's wrong with that picture? If I'm in charge of overseeing that my students are college ready, they need to be adequate funding. A difference of $3000 per pupil? We're talking in the tens of millions of dollars -- more like $25 million in this case. An exemplary school district is Montgomery County, MD -- they have roughly the same number of students, around 145,000 -- there's one funding figure per pupil. There's equitable funding for all kids."
"Issue three is Infrastructure. A critical issue is whether the state is going to lift its moratorium in 2014 for renovations for older schools, ore new construction. If that moratorium is not lifted, and those funds are not available, it is critical to us here in Pawtucket. The average of my schools is 66 years, I've got 3 that celebrate 100 years this year. These old schools have good bones, but they need to be maintained. These are assets -- and this is all interrelated with the funding formula."
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