Education

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The State Council on Elementary and Post-Secondary Education voted Tuesday to allow a major proposed expansion of the charter school system, Achievement First, in Providence. The Connecticut-based organization could potentially grow by more than 2,000 students.

Achievement First currently operates two elementary schools in the capital city, with about 700 students. The group is hoping to expand that to three elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school, increasing enrollment to more than 3,000.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Since the 1960’s, obesity among children has more than quadrupled, from about 4.5 percent to nearly 20 percent in 2014, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent statistics show that efforts to combat childhood obesity have shown some success, including the efforts of school districts to provide healthier meals and require physical education.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island schools have some of the lowest rates of reported bullying in the nation. That’s according to a report published by education advocacy nonprofit, Rhode Island Kid’s Count.

However, about 40 percent of middle school students say they have experienced bullying. Kid’s Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant says there’s still work to do.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says he supports an expansion by charter school group Achievement First. But a smaller expansion than the group is seeking. Achievement First wants to add more than 2,000 new seats by 2026.

RISD Students Helping NASA Astronauts In Training

Dec 7, 2016
Aaron Read / RIPR

Students at Rhode Island School of Design are part of a new effort in astronaut training. The students helped design an imitation spacesuit to be used for training, solving a problem posed by actual spacesuits, which are too heavy and expensive.

Michael Lye is coordinating the NASA Project at RISD. He said no training suit has been able to fulfill astronaut needs and remain cost effective, until now.        

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Charter school expansion will be up for discussion Tuesday at the state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education. One proposal from charter management group Achievement First has generated objections in Providence. But the state’s education commissioner is backing the plan.

A new study from the Chronicle of Higher Education finds the highest paid private college president in Rhode Island is Richard Gouse, head of the New England Institute of Technology.

Hundreds of teachers and school leaders are expected in Providence Thursday for the Coalition of Essential Schools Fall Forum. The group was founded by former Brown University Education Chair Ted Sizer, who advocated for giving schools freedom to design their own programs.

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Hundreds of Brown University students walked out of classes Wednesday, shouting “Our existence is resistance,” and “Whose campus? Our campus.”

The protest was one of many popping up on college campuses across the nation, in the wake of Republican Donald Trump’s election as president.

At the University of Rhode Island, students and some faculty held a demonstration earlier this week. At Brown, demonstrators called for the school to provide safe harbor for undocumented immigrants and minority groups who report feeling unsafe after the election.

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Students at Rhode Island’s public colleges and university could see a tuition hike next year. The state Board of Education is slated to vote Wednesday on a proposal that would increase the cost of Rhode Island College by about $600 a year. Tuition at the University of Rhode Island would go up by about $900, with larger increases for out-of-state students.

Post-Secondary Education Commissioner Jim Purcell said they need a total of about $30 million more dollars for the coming academic year.

The 15-foot-long telescope at Ladd has helped Rhode Islanders witness many cosmic events. David Targan, Ladd’s Director, said the observatory remains much as it was when it was built in the Victorian era, so visitors can still see what it was like to look at the night sky in 1891.

“There are observatories all over the world but none or very few that are as well preserved, I would say, from that era as Ladd,” said Targan.

Sen. Edward Markey's staff estimated that as many as 14 million students in the U.S. could be attending schools contaminated with toxic PCBs. PCBs were banned in the late 70s, but were used in light fixtures and caulking in schools built or renovated between 1950 and 1979. They've been listed as a known human carcinogen and have been tied to an assortment of health problems, such as delayed development and attention problems.

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Brown University found the male student responsible for sexual assault in April.

The student, known only as John Doe, sued Brown University after he was suspended for being found responsible for sexually assaulting a female student. He claims encounter was consensual and said Brown’s process for handling the complaint was flawed.  U.S. District court Judge William E. Smith stopped short of ruling the students was a victim of gender bias.

But, Smith did find that the school made “procedural errors” during John Doe’s disciplinary hearing.

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State officials say a new initiative to increase the use of digital textbooks will cut costs for many students and make higher education more accessible for everyone, including English language learners.

The open-license, digital textbooks are generally free and can be downloaded on a student’s computer. They can also be updated or changed the professor giving the course.

Sixty Rhode Island teachers are heading back to college to learn how to teach English as a second language. The program, a collaboration between urban school districts, the state and the Rhode Island Foundation, will cover the cost of tuition so that more teachers can gain certifications to teach English Language Learners or teach in bi-lingual programs known as dual language classrooms.

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