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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Senate OKs Picard’s bill seeking right to ‘equitable, adequate and meaningful’ education in state constitution
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard to place a question on the next statewide ballot asking voters to amend the state constitution to guarantee “an equitable, adequate and meaningful education to each child.”
Such a constitutional guarantee would ensure that systems that are failing children are addressed because the guarantee would be legally enforceable.
“The state constitution is the highest law in the state, and the statement of our dearest values. Public education is one of the most important duties of American government, upon which the success of not only individuals, but also communities, states and the nation hinges. We should make a very firm commitment to providing decent educational opportunities for every single child, regardless of their circumstances or their Zip code,” said Senator Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland).
Senator Picard has introduced the bill numerous times in previous sessions, and it passed the Senate for the first time late in last year’s session. The effort is modeled on a similar constitutional provision added to Massachusetts’ constitution that helped transform its public educational system into one that is consistently among the best in the country.
If the question were put on the ballot and voters were to approve it, it would place the responsibility for providing an equitable, adequate and meaningful education to each child in the hands of the General Assembly and the state. It would allow those who believe themselves injured because the state failed in this duty to seek court enforcement.
The legislation (
) now goes to the House of Representatives.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
Link to Public Records Request