Elisabeth Harrison

News Director

Elisabeth Harrison's journalism background includes everything from behind-the-scenes work with the CBS Evening News to freelance documentary production.

She joined the WRNI team in 2007 as a Morning Edition producer and freelance journalist. In 2009, she became a full-time reporter, and became the Morning Edition host in 2011.  She was promoted to full-time News Director in June of 2015.

Harrison's education is as wide ranging as her work at Rhode Island Public Radio. She has a B.A. in English and French from Wellesley College, and a joint M.A. in Journalism and French Studies from NYU.

A native of Los Angeles, Harrison loves good food and good movies.

Ways to Connect

In the absence of opt-out numbers from the state, I'm keeping an unofficial tally. Here's what district leaders have reported so far.

Portsmouth: 4-5 percent going into testing; may be slightly higher or lower when they tally the final participation rates after testing window closes.

Cumberland: 4 percent (or slightly less).

Middletown: 12 refusals.

Bristol-Warren: 50 opt outs, just under 2.5 percent.

Providence: Scattered opt outs, specific numbers expected later this week.

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State officials say the first day of PARCC testing passed with no major problems, although some students have refused to take the test. 

As of 3:30 Monday afternoon, a total of 18,910 tests had been started in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Department of Education reported isolated glitches, but no school-wide or class-wide problems with the new computerized exam, which is replacing NECAP as the state's annual standardized test of Math and English. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

PARCC testing begins Monday for thousands of Rhode Island students, who are taking the test on computers.

Critics say the test fails to accommodate students who need extra time and students with learning disabilities. But Education officials say students will have ample time to complete PARCC, whether they take it online or on paper.

Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Raimondo gave a sneak peak of several programs Wednesday that will be part of her budget proposal.

She's proposing $1.3 million dollars to help high school students get college credit, and $1.75 million to provide some loan forgiveness for college graduates. The idea of that program is to encourage more recent grads to stay in the state.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is about to step down to become superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. Before she leaves, she reflected on her tenure with Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter Elisabeth Harrison. Gist says she made the right move delaying test scores for teacher evaluations. But she was disappointed lawmakers voted to delay using test scores for a high school diploma.

Business leaders are expressing concerns about Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, effective in 2016.

Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce said she doesn't oppose the wage hike, but points out it could cause unintended consequences, especially for small businesses.

“Which would be potentially the shrinkage of hours for workers and also the potential that fewer jobs would be created,” said White.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Dave and Mark get an update on the Block Island Wind Farm project with Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org  

RIPR

Charter school advocates packed the statehouse rotunda Wednesday to urge lawmakers to continue their support for charter schools. 

    

A statehouse panel is considering changes that could decrease funding for charter schools. Jeremy Chiappetta from Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy said families should have choices when it comes to public school.

“We are looking to continue to grow a high quality public school sector that includes charter schools, state run schools, independent schools and certainly traditional public schools,.” Chiappetta said.

John Bender

Reactions have been swift to news that Former House Speaker Gordon Fox pleaded guilty to three felony charges.

The charges include one count of bribery and one count of misusing campaign funds.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison reports on reaction from both sides of the aisle.

Calling it a "sad chapter" in Rhode Island Politics, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said in a brief statement, "there is no place for public corruption."

A Democrat, Mattiello took over after Fox resigned as speaker, following raids on his home and Statehouse office.

Teachers across the country are under fire to increase student test scores and start using tougher standards in their classrooms. They’re also about to start using new tests to find out how their students are doing. So what is it like to be a teacher right now, and what concerns do teachers have about the changes in their classrooms? 

Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison spoke with Newport Middle School Science Teacher Barbara Walton-Faria to find out. Walton-Faria is the chair of RI Teacher Advisory Council.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Dave and Mark sit down with Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien to find out how he's adjusting to news of a new ownership group for the Pawtucket Red Sox and their plan to move the team to Providence.

Providence NAACP branch President Jim Vincent talks with Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison, and WPRI investigative reporter Tim White, about community-race relations in the state, as the media has turned its focus from the demonstrations this summer.  Vincent also weighs in on the lack of diversity in state government, and asks what National Black History month really achieves.

Hear more of our conversation with Jim Vincent in our Political Roundtable

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo is asking a group of healthcare leaders to tackle the cost of Medicaid. The program provides healthcare for poor and elderly Rhode Islanders.

The per-patient cost for Medicaid in Rhode Island is the second highest in the nation, and the rising price tag is eating up too much of the state budget. That was the message from Governor Gina Raimondo, as she signed an executive order to create a working group on Medicaid.

Raimondo said if the state doesn’t address the issue, the consequences could be dire.

President of the NAACP Providence branch Jim Vincent joins the Political Roundtable this week.  Vincent weighs in on the recent sale of the Pawtucket Red Sox, and the team's possible move to Providence. He also discusses the resignation of Rhode Island Health Department head Michael Fine and the American Civil Liberties Union report on racial disparities in Rhode Island's schools and prison system.

Hear more of our conversation with Jim Vincent in our Bonus Q&A.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

State police and state and federal health officials are investigating the apparent abuse of three patients with profound disabilities at the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital. Gov. Gina Raimondo said the alleged abuses are upsetting.

Raimondo said Maria Montanaro, the new director she appointed to state department of behavioral healthcare, is conducting a robust investigation.

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