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
8:55 am
Mon September 16, 2013

ACLU to File New Lawsuit over Standardized Testing

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union plans to announce yet another lawsuit in its ongoing battle over high-stakes testing.

Critics of a state policy tying high school diplomas to test scores point out that 4,000 seniors are at risk of not graduating, and they are overwhelmingly,  minority and low-income students, along with students with disabilities. However, state officials have been standing firm, arguing that students have multiple opportunities to show improvement on the test and earn a diploma.

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The Education Blog
9:04 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Computer Teacher named 2014 RI Teacher of the Year

Patricia Page of East Greenwich is the new "Teacher of the Year" in Rhode Island. Page, who left a career in business to become a teacher, teaches computer and business classes at East Greenwich High School.

Governor Lincoln Chafee praised Page for breaking down the wall between schools and the business world. State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said Page has introduced innovative lessons such as an "elevator speech," which requires students to make a quick pitch for a business idea.

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The Education Blog
8:49 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Roger Williams Holds the Line on Tuition

Roger Williams University is freezing tuition rates for a third year in a row. RIPR's Flo Jonic spoke with Roger Williams President Donald Farish about the decision. Here's her report:

Roger Williams University Holding Onto Tuition Freeze 

Roger Williams University said it’s holding the line on tuition costs.  Tuition will remain just below 30-thousand dollars for the third year in a row.

And University president Donald Farish said he will keep it frozen as long as possible.

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The Education Blog
9:09 am
Thu September 12, 2013

The Alex & Ani... Rams?

The basketball court at the Ryan Center on URI's Kingston campus.
Credit University of Rhode Island

Jewelry success story Alex and Ani has purchased naming rights to the basketball court at the University of Rhode Island's Ryan Center for an undisclosed sum. The men's and women's basketball teams will take the court this season with the Alex & Ani logo prominently displayed at both ends of the floor.

URI is not the only state university upgrading facilities thanks to the company's largesse. The Alex and Ani name will also grace a new arts center scheduled to open this year at Rhode Island College.

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The Education Blog
8:03 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Explosive Start of Classes at Johnson & Wales

The first day of classes started with a bang for many students at Johnson & Wales University when a utility cable exploded underneath two dormitories. The blast occurred at roughly 5:00 in the morning. Johnson & Wales officials said they had to evacuate nearly 1,000 students, most of them freshmen.

National Grid is investigating the cause of the explosion, which appeared to center on a cable located in an underground vault just next to the university's Providence dorms. No one was injured in the incident.

The Education Blog
9:22 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Divided Board Votes Against Reconsidering Graduation Rules

The Rhode Island Board of Education has voted not to take up a state policy tying test scores to a high school diploma. In a 6-5 vote, the board ruled against a petition critical of the rule, which takes effect for the current senior class. The policy requires students to achieve a score of at least partially proficient on standardized state testing or improve on a retake to earn a diploma.

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The Education Blog
9:32 am
Fri August 30, 2013

More on the Story of Openly Transgender Student Hannah Rini

Hannah Rini has been living openly transgender for a year now, she began Junior High this year.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Transgender issues have been the the news quite a bit lately, following the announcement from Bradley Manning, the army private who leaked documents to WikiLeaks, that she is transgender and will now be living as Chelsea Manning.

Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison speaks with All Things Considered Host Dave Fallon about a Pawtucket student she profiled, who has been openly transgender for a year now.  

Hanna Rini, who is 12, started junior high school this week. 

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The Education Blog
8:45 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Brown Mum on Prof Who Violated Social Host Law

Brown University is refusing to say whether it will pursue disciplinary action against a professor who pleaded no contest to charges he allowed minors to drink alcohol at his Barrington home. The university says personnel matters are generally kept private.

Doctor Bruce Becker had to pay a $500 fine after he changed his plea from not guilty to no contest. Police found teenagers having a party at his home on the night of July 30th. Becker was there at the time, and according to police reports, he told the teenagers to run when officers arrived at the scene.

Higher Education
8:54 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Rams Look to End Losing Streak

Meade Stadium, the Rams' home field at URI's Kingston campus.
Credit URI

The University of Rhode Island kicks off football season Thursday night with an away-game against Fordham University. The game marks the start of the 115th season for the Rhode Island Rams, founded in 1895.

But the team has not been faring well recently. The Rams have not won a game since 2011 and start this season hoping to snap a 13-game losing streak.

Critics question whether the state’s flagship university should spend the money on a football program at all. URI President David Dooley has said he supports believes it is important to keep the program alive.

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Education
8:38 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Starting Junior High as a Transgender Student

Hannah Rini and her mother Michelle of Pawtucket prepare for the first day of middle school. Hannah began living as a girl last year.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

It’s back to school season in Rhode Island. There’s an ever so subtle hint of fall in the air and schools around the state are opening their doors again for students after the long summer break.

With the first day of school comes that familiar mix of nerves and excitement. Will my friends be the same?  What new people will I meet? Will I like my teachers? And perhaps no start of school is quite as nerve-wracking as the first day of junior high.

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