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 / RIPR

In 1987, researchers in Finland began following tens of thousands of babies who were about to be born. In fact, they followed every child born in Finland that year, and they continue to follow them today. The study is known as the 1987 Finnish Birth Cohort Study. One of the key findings is that poverty for very young children can have lasting consequences.  Rhode Island College Graduate Tina Ristikari is one of the researchers who have been studying this data. She told Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison what the Ocean State can learn from it.

PASA

Representatives from 10 different cities head to Rhode Island this week to find out how Providence provides afterschool programs. They're interested in the Providence Afterschool Alliance, which coordinates bussing and activities for roughly 2,000 Providence students.

PASA works with nonprofits that provide a range of programs from art and music to science, math and sports. The group also works with city and school officials to serve roughly one-third of all Providence middle school students. In recent years, PASA has been expanding into high schools. 

Elisabeth Harrison

School resource officers, police officers who are embedded in public schools, have become commonplace in Rhode Island. But the practice is under new scrutiny after a controversial incident in South Carolina, where an officer dragged a high school student from her chair, flipping the student and her desk onto the floor in the process.

In Burrillville, Officer David Beauchemin takes what I would describe as a community policing approach to the district's five public schools.

Elisabeth Harrison

Five years after lawmakers approved a formula to determine state aid to school districts, Governor Gina Raimondo is calling for a review  of the system. 

Raimondo has convened a panel of more than two dozen lawmakers, businesspeople, school leaders and others to study the way the state distributes money to elementary and secondary schools.

Questions for the panel include funding for charter schools, special education services and the overall effectiveness of K-12 spending, which is the second largest piece of the state budget.

Elisabeth Harrison

The search committee seeking a superintendent for Rhode Island's largest school district has scheduled a series of public meetings to gather input from residents.

Organizers said the forums will focus on a job description for the Providence superintendent and discussion of the major issues the district faces.

Milken Family Foundation

Kendra Borden, a Pawtucket junior high school English teacher is Rhode Island's winner of the 2015 Milken Educator Award.

Borden received the award in a ceremony at Slater Junior High School on Wednesday, where state education officials described her as a dedicated, urban teacher with a positive influence on  students and teachers.

David Silverman/DSPics.com

In a strikingly personal statement on outsports.com, Bulldogs' Assistant Men's Basketball Coach Chris Burns describes what it was like to conceal his identity for many years. The former Bryant basketball player writes that he finally decided to come out in June, following the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation/Creative Commons License

Artist Nicole Eisenman, who received a BFA in painting from RISD in 1987 is part of the new class of MacArthur Grant recipients.

Eisenman works in a variety of media including painting, sculpture and printmaking.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A year ago, Rhode Island agreed to find better opportunities for at least 2,000 people with developmental and learning disabilities. It was part of a settlement after a federal investigation uncovered a program that funneled people with disabilities into jobs doing menial labor for very little pay. 

Elisabeth Harrison

The Federal Department of Education has given the go ahead to Rhode Island's plan to address inequities in the distribution of highly-qualified teachers and principals.

In creating the plan, the State Department of Education conducted a study, which found that high poverty, high minority schools are the most likely to have inexperienced teachers and principals on staff. The study also found that middle schools have the highest percentage of inexperienced teachers. 

John Bender

Little information is available about what caused a steel structure to collapse Tuesday morning at Bryant University. But officials at Rhode Island Hospital say six workers transported there were all in good condition.

taylor.a/creative commons license

The University of Rhode Island has won $500,000 from the National Science Foundation to launch a graduate center focused on science writing.

The program will include workshops and classes to train students in the sciences  to write more clearly and persuasively. University officials said the program is part of a trend on college campuses, as researchers increasingly recognize the importance of communicating beyond academia.

In a unanimous vote, the Coventry School Committee has adopted a resolution calling for the reversal of a new HPV vaccine requirement.

The resolution asks Governor Gina Raimondo to reconsider the rule, which requires incoming seventh graders to be vaccinated against HPV.

The committee voted after several of its members commented that parents are angered by the mandate. In a video posted on YouTube, a member of the audience expressed similar sentiments.

Elisabeth Harrison

Students and teachers are returning to classrooms across Rhode Island, including Central Falls, where a new superintendent has just taken charge. 

Elisabeth Harrison

National education advocacy group Chiefs for Change has a new CEO, and he comes from the Ocean State. The group has tapped Rhode Island Mayoral Academies (RIMA) CEO Mike Magee.

Magee, who co-founded RIMA with then-Cumberland Mayor and current Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee, will step down from the organization on September 1st.

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