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
8:57 am
Wed January 29, 2014

NECAP Scores Expected This Week

School districts are getting ready to notify students of their scores on the state’s standardized test, known as NECAP. The results will have a major impact on roughly 4,000 seniors, who need to improve their scores to earn a diploma.

Although the state has announced it will allow waivers for students who get into college, this is the first year that high school seniors are expected to use NECAP scores to earn a diploma. They also have to pass their classes and complete either a senior project or a portfolio demonstrating highlights from their high school career.

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Higher Education
9:33 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Congress Documents Struggle of Adjunct Professors

One part-time faculty member says,"I earned so little that I sold my plasma on Tuesdays and Thursdays to pay for [my child’s] daycare costs.” Others describe turning to food stamps and earning salaries below the federal poverty level. The comments are detailed in a new report from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

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The Education Blog
10:00 am
Fri January 24, 2014

ACLU Again Calls for Rethinking Diploma Policy

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has completed a survey of school districts and their policies to grant waivers from a controversial test-based requirement for high school graduation.

The ACLU finds that some districts have no finalized waiver policy, while others are confusing or arbitrary.

Long an opponent of linking test scores to a high school diploma, the RIACLU has written a letter to the state board of education, renewing its call for a review of the test-based graduation requirement.

The Education Blog
8:55 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Philadelphia's Testing Scandal

Philadelphia is firing principals in the latest scandal over cheating on standardized tests. As The New York Times reports, a large number of erasure marks in testing booklets raised red flags and led to the investigation that uncovered the cheating.

The scandal, one of the largest in the country, has implicated 137 educators at 27 different schools over a three-year period.

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The Education Blog
8:47 am
Wed January 22, 2014

It's a Snow Day

Many public and private schools across Rhode Island cancelled classes for today, as the snow storm gathered steam on Tuesday afternoon. In a rare move, many colleges and universities also shut down, including the Rhode Island School of Design and Rhode Island College. One notable exception, Brown University, cancelled only those classes scheduled before 10 a.m.

The Education Blog
9:09 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Providence City Council Calls for Pause on High Stakes Testing

The Providence City Council wants to delay a testing requirement for high school seniors, taking effect for the first time this year. The council unanimously passed a resolution last week requesting the pause, citing new advice from education officials that would exempt students accepted at competitive colleges.

Providence City Councilman Sam Zurier says the exemption seems unfair to most Providence students, who are more likely go to community college or straight to work.

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The Education Blog
9:07 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Barrington School Board Backs Common Core, Critics Vow to Continue Fight

The Barrington School Committee has overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting the Common Core standards, despite protests from some parents and teachers, who say the standards have serious flaws.

Pam Fuller, a Barrington resident whose husband is on the school committee, has been lobbying for a pause to consider concerns about the standards.

“This one cookie cutter fits everybody, I don’t think it meets the kids on the bottom and it certainly doesn’t meet the kids in the top,” Fuller said.

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The Education Blog
9:18 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Chafee Calls for Boost in Education Funding

Governor Lincoln Chafee’s budget proposal includes thousands of dollars in new funding for public schools, colleges and universities. The $8.5 billion spending plan would increase funding for K-12 schools by roughly $38 million, and provide $10 million for public colleges and universities.

Chafee touted the power of education in his State of the State address, saying it should provide a pathway to a better life and a stronger state economy. He also made a strong argument for the role of government in growing the middle class.

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Standardized Testing
9:00 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Education Commissioner Gist Defends NECAP Waivers

Students take summer math courses to prepare for NECAP testing.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Last week, Rhode Island education officials told districts they would recommend waiving a controversial part of the state’s high school graduation requirements for students who get into college.

Those students will be allowed to receive their diplomas, even if they don’t get the minimum score required on the state standardized test known as NECAP.

The change has touched off another round of questions about whether Rhode Island should use standardized testing at all as a requirement for a high school diploma.

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The Education Blog
10:43 am
Mon January 13, 2014

A Few Thoughts on the Latest NECAP Controversy

First of all, I go away for a family emergency, and what happens? News, that’s what!

The Department of Education announced at the end of last week that some high school students will no longer have to pass the standardized test known as the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, to earn a high school diploma. The exception applies to students who get into colleges with non-open enrollment.  

So, in other words, if you get into a competitive college, the test-based part of the state’s graduation requirement will be waived.

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