The General Assembly has passed legislation requiring Bryant University to make payments to the town of Smithfield. The university is calling the bill “heavy handed.”
Unless Smithfield and Bryant can come to an agreement, the legislation allows the town to bill the university for municipal services it uses. The non-profit university sits on some 420 acres of land that state Senator Stephen Archambault said would generate $2 million in yearly taxes.
Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said parents in schools receiving a low rating should seek answers into how those schools are going to improve.
Twenty-eight schools received the lowest ratings, many of them were in Providence. The education department said the rating system is designed to identify warning signs and to help schools improve. Gist said while it takes years to turn a school around, parents should be concerned about a low-performing school.
On Saturday Rhode Islanders have a rare opportunity to visit the Swiss Village Foundation in Newport. It’s an organization working to preserve heritage livestock breeds in collaboration with Tufts University. The site opens its doors to the general public just once a year because of concerns about microbes that could hurt the animals living there.
Rhode Island Public Radio’s Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison arranged special tour to take you inside the foundation’s bucolic campus.
After hours of deliberation … and discussion with Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist … the state's education board approved a new 2-year contract for Gist. The vote was 7 -3 with one abstention. Rhode Island Public Radio's Catherine Welch was there and has this report.
The Rhode Island Board of Education is expected to vote tonight on a contract extension for State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. She’s been weathering heavy criticism over the last few months from some parents, students and teachers, who complain that she ignores their concerns about all of the changes happening in Rhode Island public schools. One of the most controversial issues has been a new policy of standardized testing as a requirement for a high school diploma.
One day after releasing a report showing that African Americans in the state are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession, the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is out with a report showing a racial disparity in school suspensions.
The civil rights group stopped short of calling it racial profiling, but says the issue is something education leaders need to study and correct.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Rhode Islanders should look at progress made in its schools while weighing the fate of state education commissioner Deborah Gist. Duncan made the comment on a conference call with Rhode Island reporters.
In a call of support for Gist, Duncan touted rising test scores and graduation rates as signs that the state is making progress. Teachers and parents have been outspoken in their opposition to Gist. But Duncan defends her, calling her collaborative.
Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is likely to learn Thursday whether her contract is being renewed and for how long.
Deborah Gist has been a target of criticism lately from some teachers and students who say they don’t like her leadership style and they disagree with her focus on test scores. Now that her contract is expiring, there’s speculation the State Board of Education will offer a one-year extension, instead of a three-year contract. Gist says that would be difficult to accept.
A controversial new state policy says high school students in Rhode Island need a score of 2 or better on standardized state testing to graduate. That’s only partially proficient, but thousands of students didn’t make the grade when they took the test last fall. School districts are now working to get those students up to speed so they can meet this new requirement. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison sat down with a district official and a Math teacher in Cranston to find out how it’s going.