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
10:39 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Elorza Appoints New Members To Providence School Board

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is a graduate of Providence Public Schools.
Credit Catherine Welch

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has appointed a parent and a history professor to the school board. The mayor also re-appointed board member Keith Oliveira.

Mark Santow, a Providence resident, is an associate professor and chair of the History Department at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Muyideen Ibiyemi has children in Providence public schools, serves on the Highlander Charter School Parent Teacher Organization and is the president of a Nigerian community group.

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The Education Blog
6:54 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

John Waters To Speak At RISD Graduation

Director John Waters will deliver this year's keynote address at the 2015 RISD graduation.
Credit RIPR FILE

RISD has announced that filmmaker John Waters will address this year's graduating class.

Waters, a quirky, independent filmmaker who successfully crossed over to mainstream Hollywood, has written and directed more than a dozen movies, including the cult classic Pink Flamingos. Some of his other credits include the 1980's hit Hairspray and Cry Baby, starring Johnny Depp.

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The Education Blog
10:15 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Bristol-Warren Reports Problem With PARCC; Says Issues Have Been Resolved

Mt. Hope High School delayed the start of PARCC testing until Tuesday.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

High School students in the Bristol-Warren Regional School District were unable to begin PARCC testing as scheduled on Monday. The district says a technical problem led them to delay testing by one day.

A spokeswoman from the superintendent's office said she was unaware of the specifics of the problem, but described it as a technical glitch. She said the district had scheduled an extra day for testing, just in case such a problem arose.

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The Education Blog
9:34 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Providence Launches 'Parent Academy'

Providence will offer free classes for parents under a new initiative aimed at improving city schools. The district is partnering with the Paul Cuffee Charter School on the project, which is called the Parent Academy.  

The idea is to teach parents to be better partners in their children’s education. Maria Monteiro from the Paul Cuffee School said multiple workshops will be offered, including one with a focus on social media.  

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The Education Blog
9:11 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Education Board Nominee Up For Hearing

The Rhode Island Board of Education was forced to open a retreat to the public after complaints filed by the ACLU. Requiring test scores for a high school diploma was on the agenda.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Gina Raimondo’s pick to lead the State Board of Education faces a hearing Wednesday. Barbara Cottam is scheduled to appear before the Senate Education Committee. 

Cottam, who currently works as an executive vice president for Citizens Bank Financial Group, has a background in politics. She worked for governors Bruce Sundlun and Joseph Garrahy, and she’s married to Garrahy’s son, John Garrahy. The couple has two daughters, who attend a private school in Providence.

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The Education Blog
9:26 am
Tue March 17, 2015

More Districts Report PARCC Opt Outs

In the absence of opt-out numbers from the state, I'm keeping an unofficial tally. Here's what district leaders have reported so far.

Portsmouth: 4-5 percent going into testing; may be slightly higher or lower when they tally the final participation rates after testing window closes.

Cumberland: 4 percent (or slightly less).

Middletown: 12 refusals.

Bristol-Warren: 50 opt outs, just under 2.5 percent.

Providence: Scattered opt outs, specific numbers expected later this week.

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The Education Blog
5:45 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

State Reports No Major Glitches On First Day Of PARCC Testing

Credit Taylor.a

State officials say the first day of PARCC testing passed with no major problems, although some students have refused to take the test. 

As of 3:30 Monday afternoon, a total of 18,910 tests had been started in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Department of Education reported isolated glitches, but no school-wide or class-wide problems with the new computerized exam, which is replacing NECAP as the state's annual standardized test of Math and English. 

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The Education Blog
10:48 am
Mon March 16, 2015

New Standardized PARCC Testing Begins For Many RI Public Schools

Most Rhode Island public schools begin PARCC standardized testing this week.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

PARCC testing begins Monday for thousands of Rhode Island students, who are taking the test on computers.

Critics say the test fails to accommodate students who need extra time and students with learning disabilities. But Education officials say students will have ample time to complete PARCC, whether they take it online or on paper.

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The Education Blog
7:14 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Sneak Peek: Education In The Governor's Budget

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Raimondo gave a sneak peak of several programs Wednesday that will be part of her budget proposal.

She's proposing $1.3 million dollars to help high school students get college credit, and $1.75 million to provide some loan forgiveness for college graduates. The idea of that program is to encourage more recent grads to stay in the state.

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Education
9:10 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Education Commissioner Reflects On Tenure In Rhode Island

Rhode Island's current education commissioner Deborah Gist, will be leaving to become superintendent of Tulsa public schools at the end of this year.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is about to step down to become superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. Before she leaves, she reflected on her tenure with Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter Elisabeth Harrison. Gist says she made the right move delaying test scores for teacher evaluations. But she was disappointed lawmakers voted to delay using test scores for a high school diploma.

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