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
9:03 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Brown Doctor Accused of Allowing Teens to Drink Alcohol

Brown University Medical School professor and doctor at Rhode Island hospital is expected in court Wednesday on charges he violated Rhode Island’s social host law. Bruce Becker is accused of allowing alcohol at a birthday party for his 18-year-old son at their home in Barrington.

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The Education Blog
8:48 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Pell Grants Doc Screening in Providence

A documentary about the fight to create Pell Grants will screen Wednesday evening as part of the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

The film is called "Pell Grants: A Passion for Education." It details the events in Washington leading up the the creation of the federal student loan program named for the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell.

As part of the screening at the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium in Providence, Pell’s widow Nuala Pell and his grandson Clay Pell will take part in a question and answer session.

The Education Blog
8:40 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Board Must Open Session on NECAP

A judge has ruled the Rhode Island Board of Education's plan to hold a closed-door retreat violates the state’s Open Meetings Act. The ruling, issued Tuesday, says the public must be allowed to attend a portion of the retreat which will address a controversial high school graduation policy.

At issue is the use of test scores from the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, as a requirement for a high school diploma. The board had planned to gather information about the rule behind closed doors, at a two-day retreat scheduled for later this month.

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The Education Blog
9:01 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Board of Ed Keeps Closed-Door Retreat on Calendar; ACLU Seeks Restraining Order

Lawyers from the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will be in court Tuesday for a hearing as they try to block the State Board of Education from holding a retreat that’s closed to the public.

The ACLU claims the retreat violates the state’s open meetings act. The group has asked a judge for a temporary restraining order to stop the two-day retreat, scheduled for August 25th and 26th.

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Higher Education
8:58 am
Mon August 5, 2013

URI Prof Gets Millions to Study Dengue Fever

University of Rhode Island Research Professor Alan Rothman, a specialist on viral diseases, has received an $11.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his quest for a vaccine against dengue fever. URI officials say this is one of the largest grants ever received by a single URI researcher.

Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne illness, affects an estimated 100 million people around the globe each year, mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Rothman has been studying the disease in his laboratory at URI’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics.

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Higher Education
12:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Office of Higher Ed in the Balance

Political Analyst Scott MacKay and Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison discuss leadership problems at the Rhode Island Office Higher Education, after Governor Lincoln Chafee announced he would rescind his pick for Higher Education Commissioner. The candidate, attorney Eva-Marie Mancuso, raised ethics questions because she chairs the State Board of Education, the same board that would have to vote on her nomination.

  Additional reporting for this story by Ian Donnis.

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Higher Education
8:41 am
Tue July 30, 2013

RISD + Google Glass = ?

Students at the Rhode Island School of Design will be among the first to experiment with Google Glass, the high-tech head sets that seem more science fiction than reality.

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Higher Education
9:03 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Brown Trustee Implicated in SEC Charges

University officials are not saying whether they will keep Steven Cohen as a member of the Brown Corporation, after the company he founded, SAC Capital Advisors, was charged with widespread insider trading.

Cohen himself is not named in the federal indictment, but the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against him, accusing him of mismanaging the company.

SAC Capital denies the accusations, saying Cohen acted appropriately at all times.

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The Education Blog
12:24 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

ACLU Leaves Testing Controversy for Another Day

The lawsuit filed against the Rhode Island Board of Education by the American Civil Liberties Union does not address the merits of a new test-based graduation requirement, focusing instead on a procedural issue. The ACLU’s local director, Steve Brown, said he is still hoping the board will reconsider the testing policy and move to reverse it.

The complaint alleges the board failed to properly respond to a petition from the ACLU and several other groups seeking to stop the policy, which requires students to show partial proficiency on tests of Math and English to earn a diploma.

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The Education Blog
8:24 am
Wed July 24, 2013

ACLU to Sue over High-Stakes Testing

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union plans to announce details of a lawsuit Wednesday over the state’s high school graduation policy. The suit stems from a new requirement that students show partial proficiency on standardized state testing to qualify for a diploma.

The ACLU and other groups have asked state officials to reconsider the policy, arguing that it overwhelmingly impacts minority and low income students.  Statewide, roughly 4,000 students failed to meet the testing bar during their junior year.

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