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
9:44 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Students to Gist: We’re Sorry

Members of the student advocacy group Providence Student Union have issued an apology to Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist for making comments about her reputation. The students said they regretted the tone of a press release that said they planned to mourn the “expected ‘death’ of Commissioner Gist’s reputation.”

The comments came after Gist refused the group’s invitation of a public debate about the state’s use of standardized test scores. The Providence Student Union called it a mistake to make the issue personal.

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The Education Blog
8:39 am
Wed May 29, 2013

RISD to Update Former Dye Plant

An architectural rendering of the plan for RISD's illustration building at 55 Canal Street.
Credit RISD

The Rhode Island School of Design breaks ground Thursday on a major renovation of its Illustration Studies Building. The project is expected to take three years to complete at a cost of more than $12 million.

RISD plans to add 5,600 square feet to the former chemical and dye plant in downtown Providence and make it fully handicapped accessible. The project also calls for a complete renovation of the illustration studios and classrooms housed in the building.

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The Education Blog
8:55 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Gist Declines Debate with Students

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has turned down a request from students for a public debate over high stakes testing. The invitation came from the Providence Student Union, a student advocacy group operating in Providence Public Schools.

The group plans to hold a protest vigil at the Department of Education with candles, dirges and other symbols of mourning. Organizers say the demonstration is meant as a “tongue in cheek display of mourning for the expected ‘death’ of Education Commissioner Gist’s reputation.”

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Higher Education
10:03 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Brown Holds 245th Commencement

A bacteriologist, a Hollywood star and a celebrated writer were among the six people receiving honorary degrees at Brown University commencement this weekend. The ceremony, during which more than 2,400 students received degrees, was the first presided over by Brown’s new president Christina Paxson.

The graduating class weathered some rain and wind during this year's festivities, forcing the university to cancel the traditional Baccalaureate procession on Saturday. Sunday's commencement exercises went forward as scheduled.

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Higher Education
10:10 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Board Votes to Allow Armed Campus Police

Rhode Island has lifted a ban on armed police forces at state colleges, after a Board of Education vote last night. The board’s new policy allows each state institution to make the decision about whether campus police officers will carry guns.

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Education
9:04 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Meeting the Challenge of Standardized Testing

Students in an English Class at Attleboro High School.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

As Rhode Island grapples with high school diplomas tied to test scores,  Massachusetts students have faced a similar requirement for a decade. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison visited Attleboro High School to find out how high-stakes testing has changed what’s being taught.

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The Education Blog
9:29 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Board of Ed Tackles Guns, Gist and Science

There’s a meaty agenda on tap this week at the State Board of Education. The group is scheduled to vote Thursday on a controversial proposal to allow police to carry guns on state college campuses. The board is also scheduled to vote on adopting new science standards and consider a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

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The Education Blog
9:13 am
Tue May 21, 2013

A Shorter School Year for RI?

Legislation up for a vote Tuesday in the State Senate would allow school districts to shorten the school year, if they make the school day longer.

The bill says districts should be able to scrap the current requirement of 180 days as long as they have the equivalent number of hours. Assuming the school day lasts six hours, that works out to 1,080 hours.

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The Education Blog
8:24 am
Tue May 21, 2013

School Safety Bills Head to Senate Vote

The full State Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on several bills filed in the aftermath of deadly shootings at Connecticut’s Sandyhook Elementary School.

The bills would require schools to craft safety procedures in conjunction with local law enforcement and have their plans reviewed annually by the state.

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The Education Blog
9:44 am
Fri May 17, 2013

As RI Rolls Out Common Core, Are New Science Standards Next?

Rhode Island is one of 26 states that have promised to consider new science guidelines known as the Next Generation Science Standards. The standards were developed by the same organization that created the Common Core, a group of national standards many states including Rhode Island are now adopting for Math and English.

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