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
10:37 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Scam Targets School Districts

The Rhode Island Association of School Committees is warning school districts about a scam involving false invoices.

RIASC Executive Director Tim Duffy says districts may want to keep an eye on their accounts payable. The scammers tried to target North Smithfield with a fake invoice from a company calling itself Scholastic School Supply.

Duffy says districts in other states have reported receiving similar invoices. The amount billed is the same in each case: $647.50.

Higher Education
9:03 am
Fri September 19, 2014

CCRI President Up for Post in Louisiana

Community College of Rhode Island President Ray DiPasquale has been named as a finalist in Louisiana's search for a new commissioner of higher education.

DiPasquale served as Rhode Island's interim commissioner of higher education for several years. He remained as president of CCRI during that time and was offered the extra job as part of a bid to keep him from leaving.

The other named finalists for the position in Louisiana are Robin Capehart, president of West Liberty University in West Virginia and Joseph Rallo, a vice chancellor from Texas Tech University.

The Education Blog
10:48 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Race to the Top Spending Winds Down

Rhode Island's Race to the Top Steering Committee held its final meeting on Monday, as Rhode Island enters the final year of spending from the $75 million federal education grant. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist presented a review of how the money has been used. Slightly less than $10 million remains from the grant.

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Higher Education
9:39 am
Mon September 15, 2014

URI Moves to Arm Campus Police

The University of Rhode Island has begun training campus police officers to carry guns after a controversial decision in April to arm the campus police force.

Public Safety Stephen Baker says the goal is to have all 27 campus officers carrying guns by the start of the Spring semester. 

"State police have completed 17 of the background checks and they’ve been delivered to us. The next step in that process is to have those officers go through psychological examinations," Baker said. "Then we’ll begin the actual firearms training, and that’s planned for the month of October."

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The Education Blog
12:30 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Are Summer School Fees on the Rise?

Rhode Island's Council for Elementary and Secondary Education delayed voting this week on whether districts can charge tuition for summer school. Council members said they wanted more time to look at the issue, after advocates raised concerns about the impact for low-income families.

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The Education Blog
9:57 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Charter Schools, Summer School Fees and School Construction On Tap for Board of Ed

Rhode Island's Council for Elementary and Secondary Education will take up renewals for a group of charter schools and requests for school construction funding later today. The Council will also consider a decision that could have implications for summer school programs.

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The Education Blog
2:11 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

RIDE to Review Use of Standardized Testing

With concern growing over the amount of time students spend on standardized testing, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has launched a review of state and local testing practices. Gist says she wants to address complaints from parents and teachers about over-testing.

“None of us wants to test students too much, and each of us can consider ways to streamline the assessment process,” Gist wrote in a letter to superintendents announcing the review, adding that the goal is to eliminate assessments that do not advance teaching and learning.

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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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