‘Learn 365 RI’: McKee announces proposal to ‘meet Massachusetts levels’ in education

NEWPORT, R.I. (WLNE) — Gov. Dan McKee on Wednesday announced a funding proposal on how Rhode Island will compete with Massachusetts in education.

McKee said one of  his top goals is to improve student learning outcomes to reach Massachusetts levels by 2030.

While at the Boys & Girls Club in Newport, the governor introduced a plan to make K through 12 accessible year-round.

“This will require us to make a shift,” said McKee. “From thinking that learning happens only during a 180-day school year, to embracing a 365-day, year-round learning strategy.”

This initiative is called “Learn 365 RI.”

He said that this strategy will help students achieve their academic goals.

“This is not instant oatmeal. It will take time, patience and a focused effort involving the entire community rallying behind of our municipal leaders,” said McKee.

He said if Rhode Island is trying to catch up to its neighboring states, “here needs to be additional learning time outside of the school day.”

“The reality is that children actually spend most of their awake hours outside of school,” McKee said.

The governor emphasized the importance of out-of-school learning, saying it can be “fun, engaging, and inspiring while also supporting academic skill development.”

With the “Learn 365 RI,” he announced a statewide goal to add 1 million hours of out-of-school learning per year.

He said that Newport is going to be the “model for success.”

McKee said he met with several city leaders, including Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong and Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain, who all shared a “mutual commitment” to working with the community to further learning opportunities.

The Democrat also announced the launch of the Learn 365 RI Municipal Compact. He’s asking all municipal leaders across Rhode Island to join the compact.

“Mayors represent all students in their communities and our ‘Learn 365 RI’ approach will help all students reach their potential regardless of where they attend school,” said McKee.

Khamsyvoravong was the first municipal leader to sign the Learn 365 RI Municipal Compact.

McKee also asked his office and the Department of Education to meet with municipal leaders who sign the compact to see where their district stands with RICAS scores, absentee rates, and FAFSA completion.

To help these leaders, the governor is allocating $4 million in GEER funding to support out-of-school learning.

This federal funding is given to governors to help students and families recover from the impact of COVID on education, said McKee.

“This $4 million is only just the start,” he said. “To compliment these dollars, we also have $47 million in the queue that the General Assembly approved in my budget last year.”

Once approved, McKee said this money will help cities and towns build out community centers to support out of school learning activity.

“Our kids want to learn, parents want their kids to achieve, and we all want Rhode Island to be best in class when it comes to education,” said McKee.

“So, Rhode Island — it’s time for us to make a shift — from thinking that learning happens only during a 180-day school year to embracing the ‘Learn 365 RI’ strategy,” added the governor.

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