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.

Listenwise helps teachers use stories from their local public radio station with students in their classrooms. Working with RIPR we identify relevant local news stories, design and develop classroom resources around them and make them available for free on the Education Blog. If you want to find more public radio stories and lessons for your middle and high school ELA, social studies, and science classrooms you can sign up for a free account!

Elisabeth Harrison

Participation in SAT testing rose 1 percent for the class of 2016, with a record 6,303 students taking the test required for admission at many colleges. But average scores dropped by two points in reading and three points in Math, according to state education officials.

While the drop in scores was consistent with a nationwide trend, Rhode Island scores were below the national average. Local students scored 16 points below average in Math and nine points below average in reading. Writing scores were seven points lower than the national average.

RIPR file photo

By 2025, 75 percent of Rhode Island's third graders will be "proficient or better" in reading, according to the goal announced Wednesday by Gov. Gina Raimondo. In setting the target, Raimondo cited evidence that suggests third grade reading is a strong indicator of future success in school.

"Today, I'm drawing a line in the sand and setting a clear goal for Rhode Island: By 2025, when the kids who were born this year reach third grade, three out of four will be reading at grade level," Raimondo said in a prepared statement.

Labor Day has come and gone, schools are back in session, and once again teachers are on the hunt for classroom supplies. Many of them will head straight to Resources for Rhode Island Education, a non-profit organization that, for 25 years, has been recycling manufacturers’ excess material, and making it available to schools and community organizations.

In many ways, this story really starts with the fact that there are always people with stuff they want to get rid of, like Mack the Finger, from Bob Dylan’s classic song "Highway 61."

Katherine Doherty

After the long summer break, it's back to school this week for many Rhode Island students.

In Coventry and Barrington, classes start Monday. Lincoln and Burrillville are among the districts resuming school on Tuesday. 

Warwick reopens elementary schools and 9th grade on Wednesday. In Cranston, students head back to class on Thursday.

Little Compton, Portsmouth and some charter schools are already back in session as of last week. Providence and Newport won’t resume classes until after Labor Day.

albertogp123 / flickr/creative commons license

Rhode Island students scored a little bit better this spring on the annual standardized test known as PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

In the second year of the test, scores improved by an average of 5 percentage points in math and 2 percentage points in English.  But State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said gaps between urban and suburban students showed little or no change, and in some cases worsened.

Rosaline Stock/Creative Commons License

Public schools will seek to close achievement gaps in 3rd grade reading and mathematics by 2025, under a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Gina Raimondo.

The measure provides no specifics on how to close those gaps, but directs the state board overseeing K-12 education adopt it as a goal. 

Elisabeth Harrison

Starting in 2018, state colleges and universities will have to meet specific performance goals to receive increases in state funding, under a state law signed by Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday.

The goals include increasing the number of students graduating on-time and adding graduates in fields that employers need. 

RIPR FILE

As students enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation, faculty at Rhode Island College are gearing up for a new semester and a new president. 

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016

With summer nearing a close, we turn to the experts for book recommendations not to be missed on those final trips to the beach.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison gets a few tips from Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge, the owners of Riffraff, a new bookstore and bar opening this Fall in Providence.

Books you have to pick up right now

Emma Ramadan:  Ladivine, Marie NDiaye 

Courtesy of Brown University

Sovijja Pou, a senior at Brown University, will compete next week as one of two swimmers representing Cambodia. His event, the 100-meter freestyle, is scheduled for Tuesday.

Listenwise helps teachers use stories from their local public radio station with students in their classrooms. Working with RIPR we identify relevant local news stories, design and develop classroom resources around them and make them available for free on the Education Blog. If you want to find more public radio stories and lessons for your middle and high school ELA, social studies, and science classrooms you can sign up for a free account! 

Elisabeth Harrison

In Middletown, St. George’s boarding school has announced a settlement with up to 30 former students, who allege they were sexually abused. 

Ian Donnis

Gov. Gina Raimondo is expected to sign a series of bills Wednesday that impact schools and children, including a bill requiring 20 minutes of recess per day in elementary schools.

Also on the list, a bill requiring public reporting on the deaths of children in the foster care system, dyslexia screenings in elementary schools, and a bill that authorizes the creation of a "bi-literacy" seal for bilingual high school graduates.

RIPR FILE

Education advocates say there’s a lot to like about the state’s new budget for public schools. That includes new funding for special education and early childhood education. But some advocates are concerned about the future of charter schools.

For more on that, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison spoke to Daniela Fairchild from the Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now, a group that advocates for charter schools and higher standards for all schools, among other issues.

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