The Education Blog

The Education Blog is written by Elisabeth Harrison, Education Reporter and Morning Edition Host for Rhode Island Public Radio. Harrison’s work ranges from reporting on institutions like Brown University and the University of Rhode Island to efforts to reform low performing public schools in Central Falls and Providence.

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The Education Blog
2:30 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Providence to Open Two New High Schools

Providence has received a $3 million dollar grant from the Carnegie Foundation to develop a pair of small high schools over the next three years.

The schools will enroll a maximum of 450 students each, and will get extra flexibility to tailor programs to each student. The theory is that if you meet each student at their level, you can help students catch up if they fall behind, and allow them to work beyond their grade level, if they are ahead of the curve.

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The Education Blog
9:08 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Officials Mum on Subject of Brown Sexual Assault Investigation

No one is saying why federal officials have launched an investigation into Brown's handling of a sexual assault complaint, but the school is one of 68 around the country facing increased scrutiny over the issue of sexual violence.

Campus officials have struggled to strike a balance between the rights of students who say they are victims of sexual assault and the rights of their alleged attackers, who often have not been found guilty of any crime.

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The Education Blog
12:27 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

No Charges for PC Players Accused of Sexual Assault

Rhode Island's Attorney General has concluded an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against two Providence College basketball players. Neither player will face criminal charges.

The grand jury found insufficient evidence against Rodney Bullock, who remains a student at PC, and Brandon Austin, who has left the school.

The players were accused of sexually assaulting a female student in November 2013. The allegations resulted in a suspension of play for both players this past season and a campus disciplinary hearing.

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The Education Blog
9:24 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Taveras Calls Teacher Firings a "Mistake"

Speaking Tuesday night at a special edition of RIPR's Political Roundtable, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said he made "a very public mistake" when he fired every Providence public school teacher early on in his tenure as mayor.

At the time, Taveras said the firings would give the city flexibility in the midst of a financial crisis.

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The Education Blog
9:04 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Bradley School Splits from Bradley Hospital Campus

The Bradley School is leaving its home on the grounds of Bradley Hospital for a new facility in Providence. Bradley officials say they plan to make the move on September first.

A letter sent to Bradley parents says the school will now share space with the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program, a school for students who have fallen behind and are at serious risk for dropping out. The letter touts larger classrooms, a cafeteria and a newly constructed gymnasium.

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The Education Blog
9:16 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Gist: High Stakes Testing Moratorium Is A Delay

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is not giving up on efforts to link test scores to a high school diploma. Gist says a new state law barring the practice until 2017 is a delay, but she is still expecting the policy to take effect three years from now.

"While I'm disappointed about this because I feel confident that we are where we need to be to carry this out, I understand the decision," Gist told RIPR during an in-depth interview. "We are going to take a little bit more time, but what we're not going to do is lower our sense of urgency."

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The Education Blog
6:31 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Governor Declines to Veto High Stakes Testing Moratorium

A bill halting a controversial test-based graduation requirement will become law without a signature from Governor Lincoln Chafee.

Chafee declined to sign the bill but also declined a veto.

The bill bars the use of standardized test scores for a high school diploma until at least 2017. State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, who opposed the bill, vowed to keep pushing school leaders to improve student performance.

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The Education Blog
8:52 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Chafee on Testing Bill: We're Looking at It

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he is still considering whether to sign a bill that halts a controversial policy linking test scores to high school diplomas.

"We're still looking at it and talking to advocates on both sides," Chafee told RIPR on Friday, as he signed a bill making calamari the state's official appetizer.

Supporters say students should have to demonstrate minimum skill levels in reading and writing before they are awarded diplomas. That was the reasoning behind the policy, which mirrors a similar rule in Massachusetts.

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The Education Blog
9:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Rhode Island Scores Relatively Well on Study of Child Restraint

Rhode Island provides more restrictions on the use of child restraints in schools than either Connecticut or Massachusetts, according to a report from ProPublica and NPR.

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The Education Blog
9:03 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Gist to Weigh in on High Stakes Testing Freeze

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has promised to make time in her schedule to discuss new developments at the General Assembly, including a bill that orders a halt to standardized testing as a requirement for a high school diploma.

Gist has advocated in favor of keeping the testing policy, which she says is will ensure that students graduate ready for the challenges they may face after high school. But lawmakers voted to halt the use of exit exams until at least 2017, citing concerns about students with disabilities, among other issues.

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