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
9:01 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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The Education Blog
9:14 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Community Prep Looks to Open Charter School

A Providence private school is planning to close its elementary school and launch a charter school. Organizers from Community Prep say their goal is to find out whether they can extend a successful reputation to a randomly selected group of students.

Community Prep is known for a strong academic program and diverse student body, with many students receiving substantial scholarships. The school is now seeking approval from state officials to close its 3rd, 4th and 5th grades and replace them with a Kindergarten-5th grade charter school.

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The Education Blog
9:34 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Gov. Signs Shorter School Year Into Law

Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed a law allowing fewer school days in Rhode Island's public schools. The law requires any reduction in school days to be offset with an increase in class time. Still, supporters say, the move will provide more flexibility for school officials looking to reign in cost.

"We have to do anything we can to help schools stay on budget while still giving students the education they deserve,” said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Roger Picard, a Democrat representing Woonsocket and Cumberland in a written statement.

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The Education Blog
9:26 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Charter School Prepares to Grow to Seven Campuses

Blackstone Valley Prep has received the go-ahead from state officials to continue operating for another five years and more than double the number of schools it runs around the state.

Blackstone Valley Prep, a charter school, currently operates two elementary schools in Cumberland and a middle school in Lincoln. Plans call for a high school to open this fall at a location still to be determined.

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