Every year the Coalition for a Multilingual RI advocates for a number of legislations that support the development and expansion of multilingual education. See below for bills that we are tracking this legislative session.
Support and Access to Bilingual Education Act
HB5777 [Representatives Felix, Kislak, Giraldo, Henries, Morales, Tanzi,
McNamara, Kazarian, Casimiro, and Batista]
S549 [Senators Cano, Quezada, Acosta, Euer, DiMario, Murray, Mack, Zurier,
Gallo, and Burke]
- Summary: This act creates a dual language program fund to be administered by the department of education. Local education agencies would be eligible to apply to the department for funding.
- Why we support this legislation: Despite the proven success of dual-language programs, Rhode Island does not have enough programs for equitable access. This bill would incentivize districts and schools to implement dual-language programs and lead to more equitable access, as well as provide continuity of education for students enrolled in the programs.
Multilingual Educators Investment Act
HB6023 [ Representatives Morales, Caldwell, Sanchez, Potter, Giraldo, Felix,
Henries, Speakman, Tanzi, and Cruz]
S559 [Senators Cano, Acosta, Euer, DiMario, Murray, Mack, Quezada, Pearson,
Gallo, and Burke ]
- Summary: This act authorizes the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a program to expand the issuance of teaching certificates to bilingual dual language and world language teachers in urban and urban ring schools.
- Why we support this legislation: This bill would make gaining the certification in dual-language and world language education programs much more accessible by reducing the financial burden on receiving these credentials.
Dual Language Immersion Model policy and Timeline
S2284 [Senators Quezada (D), Cano (D), Murray (D), and Pearson (D)]
- Summary: This act would require the department of education to create a model policy and timeline to assist local education agencies in implementing a dual language immersion program. This model policy and timeline would be sent to the president of the senate and the speaker of the house.
- Why we support this legislation: The development of an exemplar model for dual language immersion program expansion in Rhode Island with an associated timeline gives local districts and schools clear guidance on expectations for the advancement of these programs. In addition, this bill would charge RIDE to accelerate the incorporation and development of dual language programs across the state into its education priorities.
The Education Equity and Property Tax Relief Act
S2174 [Senators Cano (D), Quezada (D), Lawson (D), Pearson (D), Anderson (D), Seveney (D), DiMario (D), Kallman (D), Burke (D) Murray (D)]
- Summary: This act would add to the determination of the need to support high-need students the factor of whether the student is an English language learner (multilingual learner) as defined by the department of education’s regulations.
- Why we support this legislation: Adding English language learners to the funding formula would ensure adequate, sustained, and predictable funding to school districts with multilingual students. Districts with the highest populations of multilingual learners have been historically underfunded by the state, leaving students and educators without adequate resources and professional learning to equitably serve all students.
Biliteracy Seal for College Credit
H7607 [Representatives Morales (D), Kislak (D), Alzate (D), Giraldo (D), Ranglin-Vassell (D), McNamara (D), Biah (D), Felix (D), Kazarian (D), Caldwell (D)]
- Summary: This act would allow high school students who receive the state Silver or Gold Seal of Biliteracy to earn world language coursework credit toward a minor or major in the language at each state public university and public community college if requested within three (3) academic years after graduating high school.
- Why we support this legislation: Awarding college credit for the Seal of Biliteracy would put students on a pathway to completing minors and majors in languages alongside their chosen majors in college. This legislation would recognize language proficiency with college credits for students that do not have access to AP world language exams or concurrent enrollment courses, and include students whose languages are not taught in our schools. It is important to note that the minimum proficiency level required for the Gold Seal of Biliteracy is Advanced Low, which is the same level required by RIDE to be certified as a world language or dual language educator.
Increasing Opportunities for Teachers of Color Act
H7638 [Representatives Williams (D), Amore (D), Hull (D), Morales (D), Biah (D), Cassar (D), Alzate (D), Giraldo (D), Tobon (D), and Batista (D)]
- Summary: The act would provide for a multifaceted approach to increase the quality of education in public urban and urban ring schools by promoting the development, utilization and opportunities for teachers of color. This act would further provide for a two million dollar ($2,000,000) annual appropriation for a scholarship fund to develop teachers for employment in urban and urban ring schools. Preference for scholarship awards would be given to students of color. Scholarship recipients would commit to work in an urban or urban ring school for one year for each year a scholarship award was accepted. Additionally, this act would provide for a two hundred thousand dollar ($200,000) grant to the nonprofit Rhode Island School for Progressive Education. This grant would be awarded annually as approved by the general assembly.
- Why we support this legislation: Research is clear that the diversification of the teacher workforce improves the outcomes of students from all cultural and racial backgrounds. This legislation would support both new teacher pathways to build consistent and high quality teacher development pipelines and ensure BIPOC have the opportunity and support they need to be successful educators. The Coalition for a Multilingual RI supports further provisions in the bill that would mandate promotional activities for the scholarship be presented in multiple languages and some of the scholarship funding be reserved for multilingual educators of color.
Professional Development Investment Fund
S2309 (Pearson (D), Gallo (D), Cano (D), Acosta (D), Murray (D)]
- Summary: This act would provide for a one-time $1,000,000 investment and subsequent annual appropriations to Rhode Island College for providing free certification and educational programs to teachers that are teaching English to speakers of other languages in bilingual, multilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.
- Why we support this legislation: The increased enrollment of multilingual learners throughout Rhode Island’s urban districts demands new state investments and programs to prepare teachers to provide high quality, data-driven and evidence-based teaching to non-English speaking students. This bill would make gaining the certification in ESL and bilingual education programs much more accessible by reducing the financial burden on receiving these credentials off teachers and schools districts and thus incentivizing educators to become equipped with the skills needed to teach multilingual students.