The lawsuit filed against the Rhode Island Board of Education by the American Civil Liberties Union does not address the merits of a new test-based graduation requirement, focusing instead on a procedural issue. The ACLU’s local director, Steve Brown, said he is still hoping the board will reconsider the testing policy and move to reverse it.

The complaint alleges the board failed to properly respond to a petition from the ACLU and several other groups seeking to stop the policy, which requires students to show partial proficiency on tests of Math and English to earn a diploma.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The American Civil Liberties Union claims Rhode Island’s Board of Education broke the law when it failed to consider a petition over high-stakes testing as a requirement for a high school diploma. The lawsuit has a narrow focus and is unlikely to settle controversy over the graduation policy.

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union plans to announce details of a lawsuit Wednesday over the state’s high school graduation policy. The suit stems from a new requirement that students show partial proficiency on standardized state testing to qualify for a diploma.

The ACLU and other groups have asked state officials to reconsider the policy, arguing that it overwhelmingly impacts minority and low income students.  Statewide, roughly 4,000 students failed to meet the testing bar during their junior year.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

One day after releasing a report showing that African Americans in the state are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession, the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is out with a report showing a racial disparity in school suspensions. 

The civil rights group stopped short of calling it racial profiling, but says the issue is something education leaders need to study and correct.

file / RIPR

A handful of open government groups are urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to block legislation that would shroud school safety plans in secrecy. 

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has released a report deeply critical of internet filtering software used in many public schools, saying it is tantamount to censorship. The report found that software blocks a wide variety of web sites including the Smithsonian Institutes and sites with information about anti-government groups.

“The excessive use of Internet filters by schools has seriously infringed on the First Amendment rights of students and teachers on a daily basis,” said the report’s author, Hillary Davis, in a written statement.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Feb 22, 2013

A snow storm is on its way.  Yes, again.  The ACLU says the state's Attorneys General are falling down on the job of enforcing the Open Meetings Law.     These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast, along with this week's Political Roundtable with guest Pablo Rodriguez. 

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

For nearly a decade every Rhode Island legislative session has brought a florid and divisive debate over immigration issues. First it was whether the state should require all businesses to check the citizenship status of employees by using a federal computer database known as E-Verify.

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has settled a lawsuit with the Cranston School Department. The settlement allows a mother with a criminal record to volunteer at her daughter’s elementary school.

When Jessica Doyle was in her early 20’s, she was a heroin addict who was convicted twice for felony drug charges. This was before her daughter was born in 2003. And since then she’s received treatment and is an advocate for drug prevention.

Science Friday is airing right now (the 2 o’clock hour on Friday) on Rhode Island Public Radio. (Listen now.) The topic is the medical value of marijuana; a federal appeals court is set to hear arguments about its value next week. Host Ira Flatow is talking to an oncologist and a microbiologist about it. Fascinating.

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has sent another letter to Barrington school officials, warning them that a selective admissions program may violate the law.

Barrington has announced plans to admit up to 10 students from other towns. Under the proposal, those students would pay $13,000 a year to attend the highly ranked school district.