Class Notes: A Quick Look at the Stories that Made News this Week in Education

Mar 22, 2013

Credit PaulSteinJC

Sparks Fly over High Stakes Testing

Many adults failed a mock version of the NECAP exam over the weekend, and Education Commissioner Deborah Gist slammed the student-organized event as a publicity stunt. The students argue their diplomas are being held hostage because of a test that is extremely difficult and complain they have not been adequately prepared to pass. Gist and other supporters of the graduation requirement say it is high time Rhode Island introduced tougher standards for high school students.

Massachusetts has a similar graduation requirement, and supporters argue it has not increased dropout rates or led to mass student failure. Opponents, however,  like the advocacy group Fair Test and the President of the Boston Teachers Union say it has led to a heavy focus on tested subjects at the expense of electives, especially in low-achieving urban schools.

We discuss the issue further on RIPBS’s A Lively Experiment this weekend. Be sure to tune in!

Lender Agrees to Give Credits for Local Internships

College students who complete internships will be eligible for credits against the payment of their student loans, under a program announced this week. The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority has pledged to forgive $2,000 of a student’s loan when the student earns a diploma. RISLA officials say they program is intended to reduce Rhode Island’s “brain drain” by encouraging connections between students and area businesses and increasing students’ chances of finding jobs when they graduate.

Norovirus Plagues Brown University

Brown has confirmed several cases of norovirus, in what the Brown Daily Herald calls the first campus outbreak of the virus in nearly a decade. University officials said Wednesday that 67 students sought treatment at campus health centers and local emergency rooms. Norovirus is essentially a stomach flu. Luckily for Brown students and faculty, spring break starts at the end of the week, so everyone can go home and recuperate.

URI Reports Record Year for Applications

The University of Rhode Island had a record number of applications for the Fall semester of 2013. University officials say they received 21,000 applications, and they will admit roughly 75% for a freshman class of 3,100. The university credits increased marketing efforts with improving the application numbers.

In other news, URI sought to remind Rhode Islanders this week that it will keep tuition flat for the 2013-2014 school year. Tuition is now roughly $11,000 for Rhode Islanders and $26,000 for out of state students.