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
9:07 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Taveras on High Stakes Testing and Deborah Gist

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has launched a democratic campaign for governor.
Credit Flo Jonic

As the candidates officially launch their 2014 bids for governor, I plan to ask each of them to lay out their positions on top education issues. I started with democrat Angel Taveras.

As mayor of Providence, Taveras joined several state lawmakers in speaking out against a policy tying the standardized test known as NECAP to high school graduation. Taveras says his concern was with the test itself, not the principal of tying testing to a high school diploma.

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The Education Blog
9:35 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Protesters Drown Out Kelly Lecture

Brown University had to cancel New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s lecture yesterday, after protesters refused to let him speak. More than 100 students and activists turned out for the talk, and began shouting at Kelly as he tried to speak.

Brown officials told the protesters to wait for a question and answer session at the end of Kelly's talk, but they refused to quiet down. After nearly 30 minutes, Brown officials say they made the decision to clear the lecture hall.

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The Education Blog
9:13 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Providence Considers Closing Troubled High School

Providence officials are considering closing down Alvarez High School and using the building for a new middle school, as they face an expected rise in middle school students.

The Providence Journal reports that Providence is facing overcrowding in city middle schools and expecting an unexplained spike in middle school enrollment in the coming years.

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Higher Education
8:58 am
Wed October 30, 2013

URI Adds Winter Term

University of Rhode Island Kingston Campus.
Credit Courtesy URI

The University of Rhode Island is introducing a new winter semester similar to the Rhode Island School of Design’s signature “Wintersession.” The condensed term, which university offcials are calling “J-Term,” will run from January 2nd to January 17th.

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The Education Blog
9:22 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Protest Expected At Kelly Lecture

Students and community groups plan to demonstrate outside the Brown University lecture hall where New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is slated to speak this afternoon.

Kelly has overseen New York’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing strategy. The demonstrators say they believe the policy amounts to racial profiling, and they are also angered by what they call Kelly’s “widespread surveillance” of the Muslim community.

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The Education Blog
9:03 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Warwick Considers More School Closures

Citing dropping student enrollment, Warwick public school officials are recommending the closure of Veterans High School and two junior high schools, Gorton and Aldrich. If approved, the Providence Journal reports the plan would leave the district with two high schools and two middle schools.

Warwick Superintendent Richard D’Agostino says Warwick has seen student population fall from a peak of 19,500 in the late 1960s to just 9,300 students today. The numbers are expected to continue dropping by about 1 percent each year.

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The Education Blog
8:28 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Brown Will Keep Investments in Coal

The governing board of Brown University has decided against divesting from the coal industry, saying there are better ways to fight global warming.

Students had led an effort to get the Ivy League university to take its money out of coal, arguing Brown should set an example and stop investing in companies that contribute to greenhouse gasses emissions, which are a major contributor to climate change. 

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The Education Blog
11:59 am
Fri October 18, 2013

My Interview With Diane Ravitch

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

I had a chance to sit down with Diane Ravitch this week prior to her talk at the University of Rhode Island. She told me she thinks Rhode Island should give up the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) as a graduation requirement and halt plans to add test scores to teacher evaluations.

Ravitch also weighed in on charter schools, saying she believes they can play a helpful role in some circumstances. Here's the full interview.

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The Education Blog
9:06 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Signs of Improvement at Central Falls High School

Three years after a state order to dramatically overhaul Central Falls High School, a new report finds evidence of progress. The Education Alliance at Brown University conducted the study, which finds school culture and parent involvement have improved significantly.

The graduation rate at Central Falls High is up from 48 percent in 2009 to 70 percent last year. Superintendent of Central Falls Schools Fran Gallo says it took an all-out effort from school staff to keep students from dropping out.

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The Education Blog
8:56 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Diane Ravitch to Speak at URI

As Rhode Island debates high school diplomas tied to test scores, a prominent critic of standardized testing comes to make her case at the University of Rhode Island. Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is scheduled to speak this evening as part of URI's honors colloquium on education.

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