Board of Education

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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Education
10:43 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Fewer Undocumented Students Take Advantage Of In State Tuition Policy Than Predicted

Only one undocumented student is taking advantage of an in-state tuition policy at Rhode Island college; the vast majority have enrolled at CCRI. Two are at URI
Credit RIPR FILE

Seventy four undocumented students have enrolled at the state’s public colleges and universities.

They’re taking advantage of a policy the state adopted in 2011.

The controversial policy allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at any of Rhode Island’s schools of higher education. The seventy-four students taking advantage of the policy is about half the number lawmakers predicted. Ana Cano-Morales is the head of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University. She offers several reasons for the lower-than-expected numbers.

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Political Roundtable
4:00 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Political Roundtable: Gorbea on Voter ID, Education + Why She's Running for Secretary of State

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Nellie Gorbea joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss her campaign; Rhode Island's Voter ID law, the move to create separate councils overseeing K-though-12 and higher education; and the lack of bidders for a study on the impact of not paying back investors in 38 Studios.

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The Education Blog
9:08 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Ed Board to Vote on Two-Council Plan

Rhode Island’s Board of Education votes Monday on a plan to split the board in to two separate councils. One council would focus on K-12 education, while the other would focus on higher education.

The plan comes after the state merged its separate boards of education, citing the need for better coordination of public schools and universities. Supporters said they were tired of hearing business and higher education leaders complain that graduates of Rhode Island high schools were unprepared for life after high school.

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The Education Blog
9:29 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Board Approves New Standards for Teacher Preparation

New standards for teacher programs will link quality measures to factors that include student test scores. The standards also raise the bar for admissions to teacher programs, calling for undergraduate applicants to have at least a 2.75 grade point average.

The new standards are part of an ongoing effort to improve teaching in Rhode Island's public schools. I asked Nancy Castagno from Rhode Island College to weigh in on the standards, and she said RIC and URI have both been working closely with state officials to craft the language of the standards.

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Education
9:11 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Diane Ravitch On Standardized Tests, Charter Schools, And Teacher Evaluations In RI

NYU professor and education critic, Diane Ravitch speaking at URI.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

It’s October, and that means students across Rhode Island are filling in bubbles on standardized tests. The annual use of testing in math and English has become a controversial tool for rating schools, and making decisions about high school diplomas, and it will soon be part of teacher evaluations too. One researcher who started out supporting standardized testing now says its part of the problem in public schools. Diane Ravitch has become one of the strongest voices in the national debate and she spoke at the University of Rhode Island last night.

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Education
10:17 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Board of Education Chair Mancuso Not Commenting on ACLU Lawsuits

Board of Education chair Eva-Marie Mancuso, not currently commenting on the recent lawsuits brought by the ACLU.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The head of the state’s Board of Education says she can’t comment on legal action taken against the board by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso says she’s going to let the legal process move forward. The ACLU took legal action this week saying a the board violated the open meetings law last week when it voted behind closed doors to reject a petition urging reconsideration of the NECAP testing requirement. 

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RI News
3:04 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

RI ACLU Takes Legal Action Against Ed. Board for a 3rd Time

ACLU Exec. Dir. Steve Brown, left, wants a public debate on the NECAP graduation requirement.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is keeping up the heat in its opposition to the NECAP test as a requirement for high school graduation. The ACLU has filed a third legal action against what it calls a lack of process in retaining the controversial test.

For the third time in less than two months, the ACLU of Rhode Island has taken legal action against the state Board of Education for violating open government laws in dealing with the NECAP test.

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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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Education
8:45 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Union Applauds Freeze on Using Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations

Gist will consult with federal officials about whether the postponement will require a waiver to avoid jeopardizing the 75 million dollar Race to the Top grant.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island teachers are breathing a sigh of relief now that state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has postponed the inclusion of test scores on teacher evaluations for a year.  

Student results on the New England Common Assessment Program were supposed to be folded in to teacher evaluations starting this school year. Gist said the policy is widely misunderstood. A year, she said, should give them ample time to clarify the policy.

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