Elisabeth Harrison

Interim News Director & Education Reporter

Elisabeth Harrison's journalism background includes everything from behind-the-scenes work with the CBS Evening News to freelance documentary production.

She joined the WRNI team in 2007 as a Morning Edition producer and freelance journalist. In 2009, she became a full-time reporter, and became the Morning Edition host in 2011.  In 2015 she became interim News Director upon the departure of Catherine Welch.

Harrison's education is as wide ranging as her work at Rhode Island Public Radio. She has a B.A. in English and French from Wellesley College, and a joint M.A. in Journalism and French Studies from NYU.

A native of Los Angeles, Harrison loves good food and good movies.

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The Education Blog
9:11 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Education Board Nominee Up For Hearing

The Rhode Island Board of Education was forced to open a retreat to the public after complaints filed by the ACLU. Requiring test scores for a high school diploma was on the agenda.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Gina Raimondo’s pick to lead the State Board of Education faces a hearing Wednesday. Barbara Cottam is scheduled to appear before the Senate Education Committee. 

Cottam, who currently works as an executive vice president for Citizens Bank Financial Group, has a background in politics. She worked for governors Bruce Sundlun and Joseph Garrahy, and she’s married to Garrahy’s son, John Garrahy. The couple has two daughters, who attend a private school in Providence.

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The Education Blog
9:26 am
Tue March 17, 2015

More Districts Report PARCC Opt Outs

In the absence of opt-out numbers from the state, I'm keeping an unofficial tally. Here's what district leaders have reported so far.

Cumberland: 4 percent (or slightly less).

Middletown: 12 refusals.

Bristol-Warren: 50 opt outs, just under 2.5 percent.

Providence: Scattered opt outs, specific numbers expected later this week.

Cranston: 67 students not testing, 6396 testing = approximately 1 percent.

East Providence: 410 opt outs = 13 percent.

Pawtucket: 1 percent.

Westerly: 6.5 percent.

Chariho: 2 percent.

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The Education Blog
5:45 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

State Reports No Major Glitches On First Day Of PARCC Testing

Credit Taylor.a

State officials say the first day of PARCC testing passed with no major problems, although some students have refused to take the test. 

As of 3:30 Monday afternoon, a total of 18,910 tests had been started in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Department of Education reported isolated glitches, but no school-wide or class-wide problems with the new computerized exam, which is replacing NECAP as the state's annual standardized test of Math and English. 

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The Education Blog
10:48 am
Mon March 16, 2015

New Standardized PARCC Testing Begins For Many RI Public Schools

Most Rhode Island public schools begin PARCC standardized testing this week.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

PARCC testing begins Monday for thousands of Rhode Island students, who are taking the test on computers.

Critics say the test fails to accommodate students who need extra time and students with learning disabilities. But Education officials say students will have ample time to complete PARCC, whether they take it online or on paper.

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The Education Blog
7:14 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Sneak Peek: Education In The Governor's Budget

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Raimondo gave a sneak peak of several programs Wednesday that will be part of her budget proposal.

She's proposing $1.3 million dollars to help high school students get college credit, and $1.75 million to provide some loan forgiveness for college graduates. The idea of that program is to encourage more recent grads to stay in the state.

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Education
9:10 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Education Commissioner Reflects On Tenure In Rhode Island

Rhode Island's current education commissioner Deborah Gist, will be leaving to become superintendent of Tulsa public schools at the end of this year.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is about to step down to become superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. Before she leaves, she reflected on her tenure with Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter Elisabeth Harrison. Gist says she made the right move delaying test scores for teacher evaluations. But she was disappointed lawmakers voted to delay using test scores for a high school diploma.

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Economy
8:46 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Business Leaders React Coolly To Raimondo's Mininum Wage Proposal

Business leaders are expressing concerns about Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, effective in 2016.

Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce said she doesn't oppose the wage hike, but points out it could cause unintended consequences, especially for small businesses.

“Which would be potentially the shrinkage of hours for workers and also the potential that fewer jobs would be created,” said White.

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Business
9:50 am
Fri March 6, 2015

The Bottom Line: Deepwater Wind CEO On Financing For Block Island Wind Farm

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Dave and Mark get an update on the Block Island Wind Farm project with Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org  

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The Education Blog
9:05 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Charter School Supporters Rally At Statehouse

Supporters of charter schools in Rhode Island gathered to demonstrate in the Statehouse rotunda Wednesday.
Credit RIPR

Charter school advocates packed the statehouse rotunda Wednesday to urge lawmakers to continue their support for charter schools. 

    

A statehouse panel is considering changes that could decrease funding for charter schools. Jeremy Chiappetta from Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy said families should have choices when it comes to public school.

“We are looking to continue to grow a high quality public school sector that includes charter schools, state run schools, independent schools and certainly traditional public schools,.” Chiappetta said.

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Politics
3:51 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

RI Politicians React To Fox Plea Deal

Gordon Fox faced reporters on the steps of the federal courthouse following his arraignment on three counts of corruption.
Credit John Bender

Reactions have been swift to news that Former House Speaker Gordon Fox pleaded guilty to three felony charges.

The charges include one count of bribery and one count of misusing campaign funds.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison reports on reaction from both sides of the aisle.

Calling it a "sad chapter" in Rhode Island Politics, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said in a brief statement, "there is no place for public corruption."

A Democrat, Mattiello took over after Fox resigned as speaker, following raids on his home and Statehouse office.

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