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
9:05 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Charter School Supporters Rally At Statehouse

Supporters of charter schools in Rhode Island gathered to demonstrate in the Statehouse rotunda Wednesday.
Credit RIPR

Charter school advocates packed the statehouse rotunda Wednesday to urge lawmakers to continue their support for charter schools. 

    

A statehouse panel is considering changes that could decrease funding for charter schools. Jeremy Chiappetta from Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy said families should have choices when it comes to public school.

“We are looking to continue to grow a high quality public school sector that includes charter schools, state run schools, independent schools and certainly traditional public schools,.” Chiappetta said.

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The Education Blog
9:53 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Raimondo Kicks Off Search For Education Commissioner

Credit Catherine Welch

Governor Gina Raimondo began a series of what her office is calling "listening sessions" as part of the search for a new state commissioner of education.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison reports the governor convened a group of teachers, principals, charter school leaders and district leaders for an invitiation-only event.

About 20 people gathered around tables in a Providence elementary school classroom to give feedback on the search for a new education commissioner.

The event was by invitation only, with guests hand-picked by the governor’s office.

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The Education Blog
5:07 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Union Approves Resolutions Against Standardized Testing

Credit taylor.a

On of the state's two teachers' unions is calling for parents to get better information about how to opt out of standardized tests.

In a resolution, the executive committee of the National Education Association Rhode Island says the state and local districts should provide written information to parents about their right to remove children from testing.

The resolution stresses that teachers have a free speech right to talk to parents about opting out of testing, including the new multi-state test known as PARCC.

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The Education Blog
4:17 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Senate Finance Committee Hears Slate Of Education Bills

A series of education bills on the agenda at the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday range from a tax credit for college graduates to funding for charter schools.

One bill would give recent college graduates a break on their state income taxes. The idea is to stem the so-called “brain drain,” when local graduates put their newly-minted degrees to work in other states.

The measure would give a maximum $5,000 credit for a worker who received a bachelor’s degree from a local college or university within the last 10 years.

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The Education Blog
4:08 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Achievement First To Open Second Elementary School In Providence

Achievement First opened it's first school in Providence in the fall of 2013.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

The second Providence elementary school operated by charter school network Achievement First will share a building with its first elementary school, which opened in 2013.

The building on Hartford Avenue was formerly home to a public middle school, but the city shut down the school, citing the cost of rehabilitating an aging facility.

Achievement First says it plans to eventually re-located the new school, "Iluminar Academy," but the co-location is likely to last about two years. The two schools will offer similar programs.

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The Education Blog
4:31 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

State Submits Final Race To The Top Report

Rhode Island education officials have submitted their final report to the federal government, tracking the state's $75 million federal Race to the Top Grant.

According to the report, the grant paid for nearly half of Rhode Island educators to receive training in the Common Core standards. It also paid for a data system that is supposed to help teachers get feedback on how their students are doing.

The Education Blog
4:09 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Providence School Board To Request Leniency On School Year

The Providence School Board has voted to ask  for a one-day reprieve from the state-mandated school year. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison has details.

State law requires 180 days in the school year, but that may prove difficult for Providence, which has already taken six snow days.

Without leniency from state officials, the district may have to extend classes into the week that includes the July 4th holiday. That's less than ideal because many families and employees had planned to head out of town by then.

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Education
8:57 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Rhode Island Schools Improving, Says U.S. Education Secretary Duncan

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he has serious concerns about proposed changes to the federal law that governs public schools and their funding.
Credit Courtesty U.S. Department of Education

Congress is hammering out new requirements for public schools and federal school funding. The current bill, commonly known as the "No Child Left Behind Act," has been controversial because of the way it uses standardized test scores to measure public schools. Changes to the bill have been proposed in both houses of Congress.  

Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison from Washington, D.C. to explain what these proposals could mean for Rhode Island.

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Higher Education
8:59 am
Thu February 19, 2015

New President Says RISD Can Play A Key Role In Economic Development

New RISD President Rosanne Somerson
Credit Courtesy RISD

After an international search, the Rhode Island School of Design has settled on one of its own to take over as president. RISD has tapped Rosanne Somerson, a RISD graduate who’s been serving as interim president since December 2013.

Former president John Maeda stepped down suddenly, after a rocky relationship with RISD faculty. Maeda surprised many at RISD when he announced he had taken a job at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.

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Higher Education
10:15 am
Wed February 18, 2015

RISD Selects New President

The Rhode Island School of Design has selected Interim President Rosanne Somerson to takeover the position permanently. The RISD Board announced the decision to faculty and students on Wednesday morning.

“President Somerson is a gifted, inspiring leader with great integrity, humility and vision, and is the perfect fit for RISD,” said Board of Trustees Chair Michael Spalter in the official announcement.

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