PROVIDENCE — The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would ask voters to guarantee students “an equitable, adequate and meaningful education.”
The bill seeks to put the matter before voters on the next statewide ballot.
Sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard, D-Woonsocket, the legislation, which seeks a constitutional amendment, would make sure that all students have the same right to a quality education because the guarantee would be legally enforceable.
“The state constitution is the highest law in the state, and the statement of our dearest values,” Picard said in a statement. “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.”
Picard cited a similar constitutional provision in Massachusetts that he said has helped turn its public schools into some of the best in the country.
If approved by voters, the General Assembly and the state would be responsible for providing an equitable and adequate education, and it would allow schools or families to sue to gain those rights.
The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Mary Duffy Messier, D-Pawtucket, is sponsoring companion legislation.
Linda Borg covers education for The Journal.