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
9:46 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Panel Recommends Changes for School Construction

Rhode Island's School Housing Aid Task Force wants to set aside 1 percent of the state sales tax for school construction.

The panel has been working on a series of recommendations as the state prepares to lift a moratorium on  school construction projects.

Other recommendations include the creation of a quasi-public agency to oversee school construction funding, assess facilities statewide and move away from a funding model heavily dependent on bonds.

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The Education Blog
9:08 am
Wed April 16, 2014

URI Begins Construction on LGBTQ Center

The University of Rhode Island breaks ground Wednesday on a new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center.

URI officials say the start of construction is groundbreaking in more ways than one. They believe URI is the first university in the country to have a separate building dedicated solely as an LGBTQ center.

In the past, URI has faced criticism for being an unfriendly campus to gay and lesbian students. The university has also faced accusations that officials forced out a popular advisor, Andrew Winters, who worked on gay and lesbian issues.

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The Education Blog
11:15 am
Mon April 14, 2014

URI to Arm Campus Police

University of Rhode Island officials have announced they plan to arm campus police, despite vocal critics, who say the change will not make campus safer.

The university announced the decision after a year of public meetings and discussions with faculty, students and staff. In a statement, URI President David Dooley called the change critical.

"In order to provide the safest environment possible and to ensure a timely response to any threat to the safety of our campuses, our police officers must be equipped properly to function as first responders,” Dooley said.

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The Education Blog
12:00 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

House Bill Would Create New Oversight for Education

A bill up for review Wednesday at the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare would create a new position for a secretary of education in the governor's office.

The job would include overseeing and coordinating all of the state's education initiatives, from early learning to higher education.

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The Education Blog
11:07 am
Mon April 7, 2014

RIP Mickey Rooney

As we remember Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney, who died on Sunday at the age of 93, I have my own Mickey Rooney story to tell. And yes, it does have something to do with education, sort of.

Rooney starred in the 1960 movie Platinum High School, one of his many films, though not a particularly famous one. It was a murder mystery set in a private school for wealthy, teenage delinquents.

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The Education Blog
7:55 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Former Brown Dean Sworn in as President of Connecticut College

Brown's former Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron became the 11th president of Connecticut College on Friday, following an official inauguration ceremony.

Former Brown President Ruth Simmons gave the keynote speech, calling Bergeron "a scholar who loves teaching, an administrator who eschews rigidity, and a musician without an elitist esthetic."

The Education Blog
9:08 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Advocacy Group Releases Annual Review of Public Education

Achievement gaps persist for minority students, and college graduates can expect to earn less in Rhode Island than elsewhere in New England. Those are some of the key findings in a new report from the Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now, an education advocacy group that favors expanding charter schools and improving access to early education.

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The Education Blog
9:06 am
Wed April 2, 2014

House Bill Takes Aim at Suspensions

Rhode Island’s House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare has scheduled testimony Wednesday on a bill seeking to reduce the use of “out of school” suspensions in public schools.

The bill would also require education officials to collect and analyze discipline data to determine how policies are affecting minority students.

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The Education Blog
8:55 am
Tue March 25, 2014

How Will House Shakeup Affect Education Proposals?

Education officials are taking a "wait and see" approach to leadership changes at the Statehouse, with several education bills pending in the legislature.

"We've had a good relationship with leadership over time," said Elliot Krieger, the spokesman for State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. "Like everyone else, we're waiting to see what the new leadership will be."

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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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