Deborah Gist

The Education Blog
6:17 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Raimondo Mum On Gist Future

Governor-Elect Gina Raimondo has no immediate plans to hire a new commissioner for K-12 education.

Current Commissioner Deborah Gist has been controversial because of her support for testing as a requirement for high school graduation and teacher evaluations.

Raimondo says she’s in no hurry to make a decision about Gist.

"She’s doing a great job," Raimondo said last week. "Her contract’s not up until the end of June, so there’s really no urgency to move on that one in particular."

The Education Blog
5:38 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

RI Sees Drop in 8th Grade Science Scores

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

New test results show just 23 percent of Rhode Island 8th graders scored proficient or better in science,  a decline of seven percentage points from last year.

Some individual schools and districts also saw steep declines in their scores.

Education officials held off on releasing the results of the NECAP Science test while experts conducted an independent review of the test and the scoring. 

But in the end, Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said they found no evidence this year's test was more difficult than last year.

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Education
9:32 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Rhode Island Receives $2M To Expand Statewide Preschool Education

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says Rhode Island is on the right track when it comes to promoting early childhood education.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island is getting $2.3 million to help expand the state’s public preschool programs.  There are already 17 up and running.

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The Education Blog
2:36 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

98 Percent Of Public School Teachers Receive Positive Ratings

In the second year of Rhode Island's new teacher evaluation system, 98 percent of teachers and 99 percent of public school administrators were rated effective or highly effective, the two highest categories.

More than 56 percent of teachers were ranked highly effective, the highest category, up from 47 percent in 2012-2013.

Just 2 percent of teachers were rated in the lower categories of developing or ineffective, meaning they need to make improvements.

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The Education Blog
9:07 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Board Allows Fees for Summer School

Public schools can charge tuition for summer school courses, under a decision from the State Board of Education

The board voted 7-2 last night to uphold a decision from State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, in a case that pits a relatively common practice in suburban schools against concerns about fairness for low-income students.

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The Education Blog
1:36 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

RIDE Delays Release of Science Test Scores

Rhode Island’s Department of Education has delayed the release of test scores from the most recent standardized state science test, administered in May.

RIDE officials say they have concerns about the scores for one grade level and will not release a score report expected on Wednesday.

RIDE Spokesman Elliot Krieger declined to elaborate about the exact nature of the concerns, but he says RIDE is working with the testing company, Measured Progress, to review the results.

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The Education Blog
9:32 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Board Schedules Hearings on High Stakes Testing

The Rhode Island Board of Education has released dates for a series of hearings on delaying high stakes testing until at least 2020.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers halted a plan to introduce standardized test scores as a graduation requirement for the class of 2014. The legislation puts off the use of testing as part of the state's diploma system until 2017.

The legislation prompted State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist to propose waiting until 2020 to introduce high stakes testing. The Board of Education is now considering the new timetable.

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The Education Blog
10:48 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Race to the Top Spending Winds Down

Rhode Island's Race to the Top Steering Committee held its final meeting on Monday, as Rhode Island enters the final year of spending from the $75 million federal education grant. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist presented a review of how the money has been used. Slightly less than $10 million remains from the grant.

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The Education Blog
2:11 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

RIDE to Review Use of Standardized Testing

With concern growing over the amount of time students spend on standardized testing, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has launched a review of state and local testing practices. Gist says she wants to address complaints from parents and teachers about over-testing.

“None of us wants to test students too much, and each of us can consider ways to streamline the assessment process,” Gist wrote in a letter to superintendents announcing the review, adding that the goal is to eliminate assessments that do not advance teaching and learning.

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The Education Blog
9:51 am
Wed August 27, 2014

ACLU Responds to Gist Change of Heart

The head of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says he welcomes any further delay in linking test scores to high school graduation.

ACLU of RI Director Steve Brown says waiting until 2020 could give schools more time to address systemic problems and intervene with struggling students. But Brown says he remains concerned that the State Department of Education is simply delaying a policy that would hold students accountable for the failures of their schools.

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