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
8:49 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Opposition to the Common Core Grows in Rhode Island

Tad Segal, Barrington parent and anti-common core activist
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A trial run for the new standardized test known as the PARCC exam begins in Rhode Island next week. The test is slated to replace the annual NECAP in 2015, as public schools transition to a new set of standards called the Common Core.

A growing group of parents, teachers and others continue to raise questions about test and the Common Core. They are calling on Rhode Island lawmakers to stop the initiative in a movement that mirrors similar anti-Common Core efforts around the country.

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The Education Blog
8:47 am
Fri March 21, 2014

NEARI Teachers Go With Pell

One of Rhode Island's two teachers' unions, the National Education Association Rhode Island, has endorsed democrat Clay Pell in the race for governor.

NEARI President Larry Purtill says this gubernatorial race will play a crucial role in the future of public education.

"We need a candidate who will listen to educators, stop the testing craze and make sure that every Rhode Island student has the opportunity for a great public school education," Purtill said in a written statement.

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The Education Blog
9:59 am
Wed March 19, 2014

PC Responds to Basketball Sexual Assault Claims

Providence College officials are urging the public not to rush to judgment after The Wall Street Journal reported a police investigation of two basketball players, as the Friars head to Texas for the first round of NCAA tournament.

PC Spokesman Steve Maurano says the school conducted its own investigation of the sexual assault allegations when they first surfaced in November.

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The Education Blog
9:03 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Testing the Test

In school districts across Rhode Island, some 9,000 students are about to get a taste of the test replacing NECAP next year. The students are participating in field testing for the test, known as PARCC, starting next week.

PARCC is slated to be used in 17 states. Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says the field testing comes as designers refine the exam, and will give teachers, administrators and students a chance to prepare for next year.

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The Education Blog
1:37 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Viola Davis on Success and Growing up in Central Falls

Academy Award Nominee Viola Davis spoke at the 2014 Women's Summit at Bryant University
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Award-winning actor Viola Davis made a stop at Bryant University on Friday during the annual Women’s Summit.

The theme of this year’s conference: “being the CEO of your own life.”

Davis says part of what has made her successful as an actor is her experience growing up in Central Falls.

"Every experience growing up in a dysfunctional family with alcoholism, with poverty, with being the geek always into theater and the Rhode Island State Drama Festival, that has been the wellspring of me as an actor," Davis said.

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Education
11:42 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Brown 250: Vartan Gregorian on Brown's Impact on RI

Vartan Gregorian served as president of Brown University from 1989 to 1997.
Credit The Carnegie Corporation

We’ve been speaking with leaders and graduates of Brown University as Brown celebrates its 250th anniversary, in a series we call Brown 250.

Today, we delve into Brown’s impact on Rhode Island in the past, and its potential for the future, with former Brown President Vartan Gregorian.

He spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison from his office at the Carnegie Corporation in New York.

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The Education Blog
11:34 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Brown Kicks off 250th Anniversary Celebration

Brown begins a series of public lectures, art exhibits and other events Friday with an open campus and a lecture from World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who happens to be a Brown alumnus (class of '82).

Kim's talk is sold out, but there will be live internet streaming for anyone who couldn't get tickets.

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The Education Blog
9:07 am
Fri March 7, 2014

URI Plans to Keep Using the SAT

The University of Rhode Island says it has no immediate plans to stop using the SAT as a requirement for admission, despite criticism that has led to an overhaul of the test.

SAT testing company The College Board has unveiled a series of changes taking effect in 2016, which include fewer obscure vocabulary words and making the essay section optional.

URI Director of Admissions Cynthia Bonn tells Rhode Island Public Radio that her team rarely ever looks at the essay section of the test as it is, but she thinks the other changes will be helpful.

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The Education Blog
9:14 am
Thu March 6, 2014

The New SAT

The College Board has announced changes to the SAT, a test many high school students have suffered through on their way to college acceptance.

Critics of the test, and there are many, say it is an unreliable predictor of student performance in college, and some colleges, including Salve Regina University in Newport and Bryant University in Smithfield, have stopped requiring SAT scores from their applicants.

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Education
10:29 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Explaining The Common Core Education Standards

2013 Common Core worksheet used in a Barrington elementary school.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island lawmakers are slated to consider a bill Wednesday that takes on one of the  most contentious issues in public education. The bill calls for a commission to study the Common Core Standards, a new set of national standards for K-12 classrooms.

Rhode Island teachers are already using the standards, and they will soon give students a new standardized test to go with them, but a growing number of critics charge the standards are stressing students out.

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