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
9:14 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Lawmakers Halt High Stakes Testing, Alter Teacher Evaluations

In a move that seemed almost unthinkable before a change in leadership at the House of Representatives, Rhode Island lawmakers have suspended the use of standardized test scores as part of a high school diploma until at least 2017. Lawmakers have also approved legislation that limits the frequency of teacher evaluations for most teachers.

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The Education Blog
9:06 am
Fri June 20, 2014

High Stakes Testing, Teacher Evaluations Remain in the Mix

The General Assembly is expected to wrap up the session today, with two key education issues still under discussion.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has indicated he may bring a vote on a move to stop the use of standardized testing as a requirement for high school graduation. The measure was considered dead in the water under former House Speaker Gordon Fox, but Mattiello says he is concerned about the impact of the testing requirement on students with special needs. One compromise could involve suspending the testing rule for students with special needs.

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The Education Blog
6:58 am
Wed June 18, 2014

RIDE: Most Students Meet Graduation Requirements

The State Department of Education says roughly 95 percent of this year's high school seniors have met a controversial new graduation requirement involving test scores. Nearly 500 students met the requirement by getting a waiver from their school districts.

Most high schools have already held graduations, but RIDE says it does not have a final number for how many students were prevented from receiving diplomas because of the testing requirement. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist told RIPR students can still appeal graduation decisions.

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The Education Blog
9:16 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Board Appoints New Commissioner of Higher Education

Rhode Island's Board of Education has selected former Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell to lead the state's college system.

The board voted unanimously at its Monday meeting to appoint Purcell as the new commissioner of higher education. Details of his contract remain under negotiation, but Purcell is expected to earn between $135,000 and $175,000, which is considerably less than his $275,000 contract in Louisiana.

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Higher Education
9:05 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Former Brown Student Denies Rape Allegations

A male student who left Brown University after he was thrust into a public discussion about sexual assault  has written to the U.S. Department of Education to give his side of the story.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the student, Daniel Kopin, through his attorneys, has sent a letter to education officials, who are investigating a civil rights complaint against Brown, filed by Kopin's alleged victim, Lena Sclove.

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Higher Education
8:45 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Brown Athletes Named in Sexual Assault Investigation

Brown University gates
Credit RIPR FILE

Officials at Brown University tell The Providence Journal they have ordered two football players to leave campus amid allegations of sexual assault.

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The Education Blog
7:28 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Warwick Mayor Puts the Brakes on New Mayoral Academy

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian has halted public hearings on a proposed Mayoral Academy Charter School.

Avedisian, who is the mayor sponsoring the proposal, says numerous issues including West Warwick's potential to pull out of the proposal,  preceded the request.

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The Education Blog
9:27 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Bill Seeks Relief From GED Cost Increase

The Rhode Island Senate has passed a measure aimed at easing the cost of the high school equivalency test known as the G.E.D.

The bill directs the State Board of Education to consider alternatives to the G.E.D. for students looking to earn a high school equivalency. It also calls for the reinstatement of a fee waiver for low income residents taking the G.E.D.

The testing company that administers the G.E.D. recently introduced a more difficult test and raised its rates to $120.

The Education Blog
11:01 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Budget Leaves School Construction in the Lurch

The budget scheduled for a vote Thursday in the House would extend a moratorium on school construction reimbursements from the state.

If it passes the General Assembly, the spending plan will leave school districts waiting for a third year to embark on major construction projects.

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The Education Blog
9:14 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Teacher Tenure Takes a Hit in California

A California judge has struck down the state's teacher tenure and seniority system, ruling it denies students their fundamental right to a quality education.

The LA Times reports the judge appeared to accept most of the prosecution's main arguments, including the idea that teachers can be fairly evaluated using student test scores. The paper also notes the judge rejected defense claims that teacher quality compares favorably to workforce quality in other fields.

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