Education Board Schedules Special Meeting

Aug 14, 2013

The Rhode Island Board of Education will address two recent controversies in a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The board is planning to vote on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s pick for a new Interim Higher Education Commissioner. The candidate, Department of Education Chief of Staff Clark Greene, was named only after Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso stepped aside as a candidate herself, because of ethics questions.

The board is also planning to discuss a retreat that was supposed to be closed to the public. A judge has ordered the board to open a portion of the retreat, which concerns a controversial policy adding test scores as a requirement for a high school diploma. The American Civil Liberties Union had sued the board, claiming a closed retreat would violate the state’s open meetings law.

Meanwhile, critics of the graduation policy continued their fight Tuesday, staging a sit-in at the State Department of Education. The demonstrators were students from the Providence Student Union, a group that has organized several high-profile protests against the graduation policy.

The Providence Student Union and others have sued the State Board of Education for failing to respond to a petition that seeks to revoke the testing graduation requirement. The Board has not scheduled any vote on the controversial policy during Wednesday's special meeting, but it is slated to discuss the pending litigation during a closed session.