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

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The American Civil Liberties Union in Rhode Island has sued Tiverton police and school officials for detaining and questioning an eight-year-old girl, allegedly without cause. The ACLU claims the student's constitutional rights were violated after she was falsely accused of bringing chemicals on a school bus in 2014.

According to ACLU attorneys, the incident began when one student claimed that two other girls were carrying chemicals in their backpacks. Police and school officials were notified and searched the students' bags, but no chemicals were found.

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The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority has secured millions in federal financing to upgrade the Gateway Center on America's Cup Avenue. The funds will be used for exterior repairs and improvements to the transit and visitor's center, which was damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

According to the state's Congressional delegation, the funding represents an expansion of an earlier $1.6 million grant. That grant led to a design process that revealed more work would be needed to "improve passenger protection and reduce flooding" at the site.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island's Council on Post-Secondary Education has appointed Meghan Hughes as president for the state community college system.

Hughes will succeed outgoing CCRI President Ray DiPasquale, who announced plans to step down after more than 10 years running CCRI.

The former executive director of Year Up Providence, a non profit organization dedicated to workforce education, Hughes will be the fifth president of CCRI.

She will take the helm of a community college system with campuses in Providence, Warwick, Newport, Lincoln and Westerly.

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The Rhode Island Department of  Transportation is making some changes at Wickford Junction aimed at encouraging more commuters to use public transportation.

Public transit officials plan to open a new bus station next week and close a nearby park-and-ride lot. State officials said they hope to sell the parking lot property for about $2 million.

Providence Police have released photos and a video of a vehicle they say was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident in the Federal Hill neighborhood on Sunday.

The accident at the corner of Westminster Street and Marshall Street claimed the life of an elderly woman and injured her granddaughter as the two attempted to cross the street.

Police said the suspect was last seen fleeing the scene in a dark SUV. They said the vehicle is a newer model and may have hood and grill damage.

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Rhode Island's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Jack Reed, has called for a vote on legislation to address gun violence following a mass shooting Wednesday in San Bernardino, California.

The shooting claimed at least 14 lives at a center providing services for the disabled, but the motive remains unclear.

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Rhode Island's Department of Education has reduced slightly the percentage of students who took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a standardized test now administered annually in public schools.

State officials now say 88 percent of students took the English portion of the test, two percentage points lower than originally reported. Ninety percent of students participated in the Math test.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A group of parents wants Rhode Island to require recess as part of the school day. The parents are organizing to make their case at a public hearing scheduled for Monday.

A group of Rhode Island College faculty and staff has sent a strongly-worded letter to state officials, warning that college President Nancy Carriuolo is taking RIC in the wrong direction. The letter comes as the State Council on Post Secondary Education conducts an annual personnel review for Carriuolo.

In the letter, 14 RIC faculty and staff members accuse Carriuolo of mismanaging the college and firing or reassigning employees who disagree with her.  

Elisabeth Harrison

  

Now that we have results from the first year of a new standardized test, designed specifically to measure progress on the Common Core, it is fascinating to see how Rhode Island students compare to other students who took the same test.

Like Rhode Island, all of the states I have looked at so far saw significant declines in proficiency rates after switching to PARCC, but some still outperformed students in Rhode Island. I should note that not all states have released PARCC data, and a more complete comparison will be available once they do.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island has more work to do to improve public schools. That’s according to State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner, responding to test scores from PARCC, the standardized test Rhode Island is now using to measure student achievement.

PARCC was designed to measure progress on the Common Core standards, which are now guiding teachers in the state's public schools.

Results from the first year of testing showed just a quarter of Rhode Island students met expectations for Math, and a little more than a third met expectations in English.


Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

PARCC uses the language of "students meeting or exceeding expectations," whereas NECAP used the term "proficiency." Whatever you want to call it, far fewer students meet the bar on PARCC.

Gaps remain large for urban students and students of color. In Providence only about 10 percent of students met the bar in Math. In East Greenwich and Barrington, it was closer to 60 percent. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Test scores are due out this week for Rhode Island public school students who took the PARCC, a new standardized test linked to the Common Core standards for math and English. Rhode Island is part of a group of states that piloted the test last year.

Earlier this year millions of students took PARCC for real in about a dozen states. Roughly 75,000 students in Rhode Island took the test from 3rd grade to high school. Their scores will be the first glimpse at how the new test is working, and how Rhode Island compares to other states.

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 Update:  The University of Rhode Island says it is in regular contact with study abroad programs to monitor the situation in Paris following a string of apparent terrorist attacks and maintain the safety of students. A total of 14 URI students were in Paris or other regions of France during the attacks on Friday night.

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Ruggerio (D-Providence) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the ongoing debate over Governor Gina Raimondo's truck-toll plan; a new evaluation of ethics and accountability in state government; and the slow pace of progress in developing the I-195 Development District.

  

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