A controversial new state policy says high school students in Rhode Island need a score of 2 or better on standardized state testing to graduate. That’s only partially proficient, but thousands of students didn’t make the grade when they took the test last fall. School districts are now working to get those students up to speed so they can meet this new requirement. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison sat down with a district official and a Math teacher in Cranston to find out how it’s going.
As Rhode Island grapples with high school diplomas tied to test scores, Massachusetts students have faced a similar requirement for a decade. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison visited Attleboro High School to find out how high-stakes testing has changed what’s being taught.
State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is responding to teachers who say she has an overbearing management style and is disconnected from the rank and file. At a meeting Monday night, more than 500 teachers demanded that Gist’s contract not be renewed when it expires next month.
Gist said she welcomes the feedback of teachers and hopes that in the years to come management and staff can avoid acrimony and focus on what’s best for students.
Rhode Island is teeming with freshly minted college graduates this morning. Over the weekend, commencement ceremonies were held at all three public colleges, as well as Johnson &Wales, Roger Williams University, Bryant University, Salve Regina University and Providence College.
At Rhode Island College a flash mob formed at the end of the ceremony. Graduates from the music, theater and dance departments led the crowd of 1,400 in a special rendition of “I’ve had the Time of My Life.”
Staring down a July 1st deadline, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are looking at ways to control the costs of federal student loans. Senator Jack Reed is behind a measure that would overhaul how student loan interest rates are calculated.
Reed and a handful of democrats in Congress are pushing legislation that offers adjustable rates and caps the maximum interest rates on federal loans. The bill also allows borrowers stuck with high interest rates to refinance.
The University of Rhode Island is moving its graduation indoors. The university said it’s for safety reasons.
URI said the recent gun scare on campus and the bombings in Boston prompted it to move the graduation ceremony into the Ryan Center. Graduating student Kelly Harris is unhappy with the move. She said students are limited to bringing two guests and that will make it harder for her friends and family to see her walk across the stage.
“This is affecting the vast majority of graduating seniors,” said Harris.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday on a bill that would allow Rhode Island State College Police to carry guns.
The hearing comes after a scare at the University of Rhode Island about a gunman on campus, and Rhode Island is currently the only state in the country that does not allow armed campus police at public colleges and universities. The University of Rhode Island is also expected to release its preliminary review in the coming days examining how it responded to the report of a possible shooter.
The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing this week on a bill to allow campus police to carry guns at Rhode Island state colleges and universities. The bill was filed long before a scare this month about a gunman on the University of Rhode Island Kingston campus.
Representative Joe Almeida, a Providence Democrat, turned to politics after a 20-year-career as a police officer. He filed legislation back in February to allow campus police to carry guns. He said many campus police officers are retired cops just like he is, and they’re already trained to carry a firearm.
Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is working out terms for an extension of her contract. The controversial Gist is expected to remain at the helm of the state Department of Education.
Education Commissioner Deborah Gist led the team that brought Rhode Island a $75 million federal Race to the Top grant. But she’s also been criticized for shepherding in an era of tough teacher evaluations and high stakes testing as a graduation requirement.