Education

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Immigration consistently ranks as the number one issue in national surveys of Latino voters, such as surveys by Latino Decisions and Univision News. But education and the economy are not far behind. As part of our RhodyVotes '16 coverage, we talked to some Latino voters about what's driving them to the polls. 

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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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State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss changes in Rhode Island's healthcare landscape, how lawmakers will address the proposed legalization of marijuana, and the outlook on improving public education.

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Children are becoming more diverse in Rhode Island, but the number of babies born in withdrawal from opioids continues to grow. Those are just some of the statistics in this year’s Kids Count fact book, which comes out Monday. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison spoke with Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant about several of the highlights in the report.  

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

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.

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The University of Rhode Island has taken a rare step to create a new college focused on health care. They're calling it the College of Health Sciences and say it will join together programs like physical therapy, sports science, gerontology and psychology.

The university plans to hire a new dean to lead the new College of Health Sciences,  which will join the colleges of Pharmacy and Nursing under the umbrella of an Academic Health Collaborative.

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Thousands of Rhode Island high school students are now earning college credits without stepping foot onto a university campus. 

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March 14th is Pi day, honoring the ratio of a circle’s circumference and diameter: 3.14. To celebrate this unofficial holiday, 10 of the state’s top math students gathered in Providence for a competition hosted by the American Mathematical Society.

Barrington freshman Johnny Zhang won the top prize, earning $1,000 and a graphing calculator. Zhang said he plans to put some of the money towards college and tickets to the Broadway show Hamilton.

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.

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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.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island’s four-year high school graduation rate has improved since last year. The 2015 graduation rate was 83 percent, up six points from 2014.

North Providence High School had the highest four-year graduation rate in the state, at 98 percent. The marching band played, and cheerleaders cheered as public officials spoke in the school auditorium.

State education commissioner Ken Wagner joined the celebration, but cautioned that graduating from high school and being prepared for college are two different things.

After 9 o’clock Tuesday night, several dozen Providence College students left the office of President Reverend Brian Shanley, after protesting there for more than 12 hours. The students and the head of the private Catholic College came to an agreement over changes, demanded by the students, to address racism on campus.

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Governor Gina Raimondo joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss her budget, economic development, and the outlook for improving public education in Rhode Island. For a more in-depth Q+A with Raimondo, listen to our Bonus Q+A.

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