The Education Blog

The Education Blog is written by Elisabeth Harrison, Education Reporter and Morning Edition Host for Rhode Island Public Radio. Harrison’s work ranges from reporting on institutions like Brown University and the University of Rhode Island to efforts to reform low performing public schools in Central Falls and Providence.

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The Education Blog
9:51 am
Wed August 27, 2014

ACLU Responds to Gist Change of Heart

The head of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says he welcomes any further delay in linking test scores to high school graduation.

ACLU of RI Director Steve Brown says waiting until 2020 could give schools more time to address systemic problems and intervene with struggling students. But Brown says he remains concerned that the State Department of Education is simply delaying a policy that would hold students accountable for the failures of their schools.

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The Education Blog
9:03 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Gist Explains New Stance on High Stakes Testing

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

In the wake of a General Assembly decision to delay standardized testing for a high school diploma until 2017, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is now suggesting that the policy be pushed back even further to 2020. Rhode Island Public Radio Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison asked Gist what made her change her position after arguing vigorously that Rhode Island should start linking test scores and diplomas this year.

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Higher Education
9:38 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Grand Jury Declines to Indict Brown Football Players

After an investigation, a grand jury has decided against indicting two Brown football players accused of sexual assault.

"There will be no charges stemming from the incident," according to a statement from the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office.

The allegations were brought by a student at Providence College. She told police she started feeling groggy while hanging out with friends at a Providence bar. When she woke up, she said she found herself in a Brown dorm room, and there, she alleges, the football players sexually assaulted her.

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The Education Blog
9:17 am
Tue August 26, 2014

A Reversal on High Stakes Testing?

Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is recommending more delays for a policy linking standardized test scores to a high school diploma. Gist says she now believes the policy should remain on hold until 2020.

The comments may come as a surprise after Gist championed the test-linked diploma for months despite increasing pressure from some students and groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who said the policy was unfair to low-income students and students with disabilities.

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The Education Blog
2:30 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Providence to Open Two New High Schools

Providence has received a $3 million dollar grant from the Carnegie Foundation to develop a pair of small high schools over the next three years.

The schools will enroll a maximum of 450 students each, and will get extra flexibility to tailor programs to each student. The theory is that if you meet each student at their level, you can help students catch up if they fall behind, and allow them to work beyond their grade level, if they are ahead of the curve.

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The Education Blog
9:08 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Officials Mum on Subject of Brown Sexual Assault Investigation

No one is saying why federal officials have launched an investigation into Brown's handling of a sexual assault complaint, but the school is one of 68 around the country facing increased scrutiny over the issue of sexual violence.

Campus officials have struggled to strike a balance between the rights of students who say they are victims of sexual assault and the rights of their alleged attackers, who often have not been found guilty of any crime.

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The Education Blog
12:27 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

No Charges for PC Players Accused of Sexual Assault

Rhode Island's Attorney General has concluded an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against two Providence College basketball players. Neither player will face criminal charges.

The grand jury found insufficient evidence against Rodney Bullock, who remains a student at PC, and Brandon Austin, who has left the school.

The players were accused of sexually assaulting a female student in November 2013. The allegations resulted in a suspension of play for both players this past season and a campus disciplinary hearing.

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The Education Blog
9:24 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Taveras Calls Teacher Firings a "Mistake"

Speaking Tuesday night at a special edition of RIPR's Political Roundtable, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said he made "a very public mistake" when he fired every Providence public school teacher early on in his tenure as mayor.

At the time, Taveras said the firings would give the city flexibility in the midst of a financial crisis.

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The Education Blog
9:04 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Bradley School Splits from Bradley Hospital Campus

The Bradley School is leaving its home on the grounds of Bradley Hospital for a new facility in Providence. Bradley officials say they plan to make the move on September first.

A letter sent to Bradley parents says the school will now share space with the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program, a school for students who have fallen behind and are at serious risk for dropping out. The letter touts larger classrooms, a cafeteria and a newly constructed gymnasium.

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The Education Blog
9:16 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Gist: High Stakes Testing Moratorium Is A Delay

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is not giving up on efforts to link test scores to a high school diploma. Gist says a new state law barring the practice until 2017 is a delay, but she is still expecting the policy to take effect three years from now.

"While I'm disappointed about this because I feel confident that we are where we need to be to carry this out, I understand the decision," Gist told RIPR during an in-depth interview. "We are going to take a little bit more time, but what we're not going to do is lower our sense of urgency."

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