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.

Providence College

Activists rallied at Providence College Monday to call attention to what they say is racial profiling. Professor Julia Jordan-Zachery has complained she was interrogated by campus police for parking in a faculty space. The demonstrators said the incident is part of a larger pattern of targeting minorities by campus police officers.

Jordan-Zachery filed an official complaint with the college last fall. Providence College Spokesman Steve Maurano said the complaint was resolved quickly, and the head of campus security ordered additional training for campus police.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is praising the state’s Board of Education for approving new regulations that allow qualified students to do college-level coursework while they are still in high school.

The Governor had sought that approval, saying it is a step toward creating Prepare RI, the jobs plan initiative Raimondo has proposed to allow students to finish professional certifications or college degrees more quickly.

$1.3 million for this program is included in the governor’s proposed budget.

The number of babies born with exposure to opioid drugs and alcohol nearly doubled in Rhode Island between 2006 and 2013. 

That’s one of the more startling facts in the new Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook. Executive Director Elizabeth Burke-Bryant said unlike earlier drug problems, this one is not concentrated in urban areas.

“90 percent of babies born with drugs in their system, were born to white mothers and 32 percent lived in the four core cities, which means the majority of these cases are spread to the rest of Rhode Island,” said Bryant.

Expect the unexpected in Rhode Island politics, right? Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome (idonnis at ripr dot org), and feel free to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

John Bender / RIPR

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss Lincoln Chafee's possible presidential run; the proposed settlement of the state pension conflict; and what's ahead for public education.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island is looking for a new leader for K-12 public schools as controversy grows over standardized testing and charter schools. So what do students want from the next commissioner of education?

Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison asked that question of three Providence students: 16-year-old Kendall Hall, 16-year-old Diane Gonzales and 15-year-old Xilian Sansoucy. They are members of the student advocacy groups Young Voices and the Providence Student Union.

Rhode Island House leaders say they plan to restore more than $2 million taken out of the governor’s budget to pay for private school bussing and text books.

House Finance Committee Chair Raymond Gallison Jr., recalls the funding was helpful to his family when his two sons were in private school.

“They got the bus. I went one way, my wife went another way and getting to the private school that they were going to, this certainly was something that was of great assistance to us,” said Gallison.


A Brown task force on sexual assault has completed its recommendations for the university. They’re aimed at improving the way the university responds to complaints of sexual violence.

The task force urges Brown to adopt a single policy on sexual assault, dating violence, harassment and stalking. The group says the university should centralize the process for handling complaints in a single office.