With Education Commissioner Deborah Gist posting on Facebook that she has left her her job, who is in charge of the Rhode Island Department of Education?

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The latest version of the state budget would cut nearly $1 million from the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, but most of the governor's other education programs remain intact.

In a written statement, acting Education Commissioner David Abbot praised the budget for increasing aid to school districts, expanding funding for preschool and all-day Kindergarten and boosting aid for school construction.

However, he expressed concerns about an $800,000 cut to the State Department of Education.

UPDATE: The charter school bills have been scratched from Thursday's committee agendas, according to RIPR Political Reporter Ian Donnis at the Statehouse. 

The bills could make it more difficult to open new charter schools. 

One bill calls for a hiatus on granting new charters, due to concerns over funding. A legislative committee has suggested the state re-examine the formula for funding districts and charter schools, which currently receive state and local dollars for each student who enrolls.

Young children in Rhode Island are more ethnically diverse than ever before. That according to new data from Rhode Island Kids Count.

Fewer than three out of every five Rhode Island kids under age five now identify as white. That’s a huge drop from their grandparents’ generation. 91 percent of state residents who are 65 and older identify as white. Kids Count released the numbers as part of a new report on infants, toddlers and their families.

albertogp123 / flickr

A group of community organizations has filed a petition with the State Board of Education to stop high stakes testing from taking effect as early as 2017. The groups are concerned about using the PARCC exam as part of grading or as a graduation requirement.

Providence has named the head of an education consulting firm to lead its school district, while the school board prepares to launch an official search for a new superintendent.

School board members tapped Chris Maher, president of the firm Mass Insight Education, as interim superintendent on Monday night. District spokeswoman Christina Spaight O'Reilly says Maher is eligible to apply for the permanent post.

Current Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi has announced she will step down after this school year, citing a desire to pursue other professional opportunities.

The Rhode Island School of Design celebrates commencement on Saturday at the convention center. At one point it appeared as though 666 students would receive degrees, but the count has gone up to 669.

Either way, the number seems fitting for cult film director John Waters, who is scheduled to address the graduates. Waters is known for movies that push the boundaries of good taste.

RISD President Rosanne Somerson says RISD is known for quirky moments at commencement. Part of the university's tradition involves a unique take on the traditional black robe.

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Brown University ranks among the top 10 universities whose undergraduates go on to win the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant, according to new data from the MacArthur Foundation.

Since the foundation began awarding the grants, which honor individuals with great creative potential, Brown graduates have received 14 awards. Harvard produces the most recipients by far with 72 grantees.


Providence students plan to demonstrate at Providence City Hall today. They’re calling for Mayor Jorge Elorza to provide bus passes for students who live two miles or more from school. Students say they must currently live two and-a-half miles from school, at minimum, in order to qualify for free bus passes.

Roselin Trinidad is a senior at Central High School, and a member of the Providence Student Union, the education advocacy group putting on the protest.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Students in Rhode Island will take shorter standardized tests next year. 

The multi-state governing board that oversees the so-called PARCC tests, voted Wednesday to shorten testing by about 90 minutes. The change comes following criticism from teachers over the lengthy nature of the test.


Ray DiPasquale the President of the Community College of Rhode Island is stepping down. The decision comes after nearly a decade at the helm.

Di Pasquale began his first term as President in 2006.  During his tenure the school has seen record enrollments; graduating it’s largest-ever class in 2013. He also oversaw CCRI’s first-ever capital campaign which raised more $7 million.

In a statement Di Pasquale said serving as CCRI President was a “true privilege.”

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

New graduates receive diplomas this weekend at the University of Rhode Island. Like grads across the state, they enter a job market showing signs of recovery. But Rhode Island still suffers from one of the worst unemployment rates in the country.

As we continue our series Rising Tide, looking at whether Rhode Island is emerging from the Great Recession, Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter Elisabeth Harrison checks in with college students to find out how they view the future.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s new state-funded preschool program is expensive, but it may be high quality. That’s according to a new study from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island is arming its police force as of Friday. Preparations have been underway for a little more than a year. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison has details.

A gun scare in 2013 led to the decision last year to arm police on URI's rural Kingston campus. Though it turned out there wasn’t any gun, the false alarm pointed out the drawbacks of unarmed officers, who had to wait for armed police to respond to the incident.

Elisabeth Harrison

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is again raising alarms bells about racial disparities in school suspensions. The group has released a new report citing little improvement in the 2013-2014 school year.  

According to the study, one out of every six black male students got suspended from a Rhode Island public school during the 2013-2014 school year,

The reports finds that statewide, suspension rates declined for white students but hit their highest level in a decade for Black, Hispanic and Native American students.