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.

John Bender / RIPR

Advanced placement – or AP – courses are offered in many high schools as a way for students to take college-level classes and impress college admissions officers. Over the past decade, the number of students taking these challenging courses has nearly doubled. But one private high school in Rhode Island is saying no more to the AP. Lincoln School in Providence plans to stop offering AP courses in the fall of 2017. Lincoln Head of School Suzanne Fogarty discussed the decision with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison.

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RIPR FILE

Just two decades ago, the vast majority of Rhode Island children had elevated levels of lead in their blood when they were tested at the start of Kindergarten. Today, the percentage has dropped into the single digits, according to Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, whose organization started tracking blood lead statistics in the mid-1990s.

Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Gina Raimondo said Wednesday she would veto at least one bill designed to make it harder to open new charter schools. Speaking at an on-the-record lunch with reporters, Raimondo discussed a bill that would require local elected officials to sign off on new or expanding charter schools.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The Providence Public Schools have named a new superintendent. Chris Maher will lead the state capital’s school system, after serving as interim superintendent since last summer.

Maher took the helm following the abrupt departure of former city schools Superintendent Susan Lusi. The Providence School Board announced Monday it has voted unanimously to enter contract negotiations with Maher, to take on the position permanently.

Elisabeth Harrison

When Sue Lusi said she was leaving the Providence Public Schools to pursue new professional opportunities, she wasn't kidding. 

Boston-based consulting group Mass Insight announced Monday that Lusi will be the new President and CEO of the non-profit Mass Insight Education.

Elisabeth Harrison

The leader of one of Rhode Island's two powerful teachers' unions sounded unconvinced this week, following the unveiling of State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner's proposal to open public schools to students from other districts and provide more leeway on items like budgets and textbooks.

In a written statement released after Wagner's "State of Education" speech at the General Assembly, National Education Association Rhode Island President Larry Purtill suggested he takes issue with some aspects of the plan.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Public schools across the state could open up to students from other districts, under a new bill from Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner. 

Elisabeth Harrison

A bill to require daily recess for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade has been placed on Wednesday's agenda for the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee. The legislation calls for a minimum of 20 minutes for free-play every day.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Kathleen Fogarty (D-South Kingstown), has said playtime is healthy for young kids, who benefit from developing social skills and getting a break from schoolwork. A group of parents has also been organizing support for the idea.

RIPR file photo

Through a partnership with Microsoft, the University of Rhode Island and several other organizations, Governor Gina Raimondo has unveiled a plan to bring computer science to every public school in the state.

Raimondo discussed the initiative she calls "CS4RI" at Tolman High School in Pawtucket on Monday. She was joined by members of the state's congressional delegation and hundreds of Tolman students.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

In the aftermath of allegations of past sexual abuse of students by employees at St. George’s School in Middletown, the school has been accused of violating Rhode Island’s duty to report law for abused and neglected children.

But, as Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison first reported, this law is not as clear as it appears to be. 

Listen Current helps teachers use stories from RIPR in their classrooms. To find more public radio stories and lessons for your middle and high school ELA, social studies, and science classrooms you can sign up for a free Listen Current account!

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Listen Current helps teachers use stories from RIPR in their classrooms. To find more public radio stories and lessons for your middle and high school ELA, social studies, and science classrooms you can sign up for a free Listen Current account!

Story Synopsis

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo’s $9 billion budget proposal would increase funding for public schools and give a small bump to colleges and universities.


John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has proposed major changes in the administration of the city’s public schools.The changes will include the creation of several new positions, transferring some current employees out of the central administration and eliminating some vacant posts.

Elorza's proposal comes months after the departure of former Providence Schools Superintendent Susan Lusi, and an audit that found inefficiencies in the central office.

Providence Interim Superintendent Chris Maher said the school system is looking to hire up to 10 new staff members.

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