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.

Elisabeth Harrison

Starting in September, every public school in Providence will designate teams to meet one-on-one with transgender students and their families. Providence Public Schools spokesperson Laura Hart said it’s part of a new policy aimed at making sure schools respect the rights of transgender and other gender non-conforming students.

David DesRoches/WNPR

UConn student Haddiyyah Ali got an email from a woman whose story floored her. The woman was working at talent agency in 1965, when she says Bill Cosby invited her to a party at his house.

“When she got there, there was nobody else there," Ali said.

The woman said she was drugged, and woke up to Cosby assaulting her.

Elisabeth Harrison

House lawmakers have scheduled a committee hearing Wednesday on a bill that would add schools to Rhode Island’s mandatory child abuse reporting law.

The bill was filed in response to a sexual abuse scandal at St. George’s School in Middletown, after it became clear the school had failed to report numerous allegations of sexual abuse. The incidents span several decades and involve several former faculty members and one current employee.

Elisabeth Harrison

In the aftermath of the sex abuse scandal at St. George's School, Rhode Island lawmakers are considering legislation that would close a loophole in the state’s mandatory child abuse reporting law.

The loophole, first reported by Rhode Island Public Radio, seems to allow schools and other institutions to avoid reporting abuse allegations against their employees. 

School Improvements Bond Nixed Amid Debt Fears

Jun 8, 2016
Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A $40 million dollar bond for general school improvements proposed by Governor Raimondo was removed from the state budget, approved early Wednesday morning by the House Finance Committee. The money was earmarked for various construction projects in Rhode Island’s schools.

While Rhode Island has a significant number of aging school facilities, Tim Duffy, executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, said cities and towns still will have to find other alternatives to fund improvements.

Budget Changes Charter School Funding

Jun 8, 2016
Ian Donnis / RIPR

The House Finance Committee has changed the structure of payments made by local school districts to charter schools and mayoral academies.

Governor Raimondo had proposed an across-the-board decrease in tuition payments made to charter schools, but the House committee voted to give municipalities more options when it comes to reimbursing the charter schools.

St. George's Head Of School Announces Resignation

Jun 8, 2016
Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The head of St. George's School will not seek an extension of his contract wheni it expires in the Spring of 2017. 

"I am enormously grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of St. George's," said Eric Peterson in a written statement Tuesday. "I am hopeful that announcing this decision now will allow for a thorough, national search for a successor, a process that requires substantial lead time and significant effort."

Elisabeth Harrison

State police will not pursue any criminal charges following their investigation into sexual abuse allegations at St. George’s School in Middletown. The state police, working in conjunction with the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office, announced the end of their investigation on Thursday afternoon.

RIPR FILE

Transgender advocates and civil rights groups plan to urge Rhode Island to adopt a statewide policy on transgender students in public schools. Last week the federal government issued guidance that says transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom and locker room of the gender they identify with.

The Obama administration also instructed teachers to use the name and pronoun the family prefers.

Roger Williams University, Rhode Island College and Providence College hold commencement exercises this weekend, the start of several weekends honoring the class of 2016.

Providence College graduates will hear from Marathon Bombing survivor Heather Abbott at a ceremony at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Sunday. At Roger Williams, commencement exercises begin Saturday morning at the seaside campus in Bristol.

Chuck Hinman

Providence residents Ger V. Xiong and his daughter Mailee Kue tell RIPR's Chuck Hinman the story of their family's migration from the mountains of Laos to Rhode Island.

RIPR FILE

Higher ed officials have tapped Frank Sánchez, vice chancellor for student affairs at City University of New York, as the next president of Rhode Island College. He will succeed RIC President Nancy Carriuolo to become the the 10th president of Rhode Island's oldest public college.

Sánchez was one of four finalists for the top post at RIC.

“While it was a difficult decision, we selected Dr. Sánchez because of his commitment to students," said Bill Foulkes, chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education and head of the presidential search committee.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island's Council on Postsecondary Education has scheduled a special meeting Wednesday, listing "Appointment of the new president of Rhode Island College" as an action item. The notice comes in advance of a full state Board of Education meeting, scheduled for next week.

The council is seeking a replacement for outgoing President Nancy Carriuolo, who resigns this month. 

John Bender / RIPR

Advanced placement – or AP – courses are offered in many high schools as a way for students to take college-level classes and impress college admissions officers. Over the past decade, the number of students taking these challenging courses has nearly doubled. But one private high school in Rhode Island is saying no more to the AP. Lincoln School in Providence plans to stop offering AP courses in the fall of 2017. Lincoln Head of School Suzanne Fogarty discussed the decision with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison.

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