Board of Education

The State Board of Education met Thursday to discuss the future of the Office of Higher Education, which is slated to stop receiving state funding in July of 2014. Lawmakers dealt the department an early blow in the new budget, cutting funding by roughly 40 percent. Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso says she was disappointed by the decision.

“I was surprised,” Mancuso said. “I was not happy because it’s premature in my mind. They gave us until next July to in fact meet that goal, and so it’s going to be challenging.”

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said parents in schools receiving a low rating should seek answers into how those schools are going to improve.

Twenty-eight schools received the lowest ratings, many of them were in Providence. The education department said the rating system is designed to identify warning signs and to help schools improve. Gist said while it takes years to turn a school around, parents should be concerned about a low-performing school.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

After hours of deliberation … and discussion with Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist … the state's education board approved a new 2-year contract for Gist. The vote was 7 -3 with one abstention. Rhode Island Public Radio's Catherine Welch was there and has this report.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is likely to learn Thursday whether her contract is being renewed and for how long.

Deborah Gist has been a target of criticism lately from some teachers and students who say they don’t like her leadership style and they disagree with her focus on test scores. Now that her contract is expiring, there’s speculation the State Board of Education will offer a one-year extension, instead of a three-year contract. Gist says that would be difficult to accept.

Rhode Island has lifted a ban on armed police forces at state colleges, after a Board of Education vote last night. The board’s new policy allows each state institution to make the decision about whether campus police officers will carry guns.

The State Board of Education discussed a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist last night but took no action. The conversation took place behind closed doors, which is standard practice for personnel matters.

At least 200 people attended the public portion of the board meeting, some to testify in opposition to Gist and others to speak on a controversial measure to arm state college police. The board passed the measure on campus police, allowing each state university to make its own decision about arming campus police forces.

Michael Donnermeyer / Wiki Commons

State colleges and universities in Rhode Island can now arm campus police after a vote Thursday night at the State Board of Education.  Critics said more guns on campus will not make students safer, but supporters, including University of Rhode Island President David Dooley, said campus police should carry guns to do their jobs more effectively.

Dooley said he believes arming police is logical decision for URI.

Elisabeth Harrison

As Rhode Island grapples with high school diplomas tied to test scores,  Massachusetts students have faced a similar requirement for a decade. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison visited Attleboro High School to find out how high-stakes testing has changed what’s being taught.

There’s a meaty agenda on tap this week at the State Board of Education. The group is scheduled to vote Thursday on a controversial proposal to allow police to carry guns on state college campuses. The board is also scheduled to vote on adopting new science standards and consider a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

Rhode Island is one of 26 states that have promised to consider new science guidelines known as the Next Generation Science Standards. The standards were developed by the same organization that created the Common Core, a group of national standards many states including Rhode Island are now adopting for Math and English.

Governor Lincoln Chafee is requesting a 6 percent wage hike for members of his cabinet after shooting down a proposal to raise salaries for state university and college professors. According to The Providence Journal, the governor’s plan would provide a 3 percent increase to 14 state employees in June, followed by another 3 percent increase in December.

Legislation sponsored by Providence Rep Edith Ajello, would add two student positions to the newly formed Rhode Island Board of Education.

One seat would represent public high schools—the other seat, public colleges.

The two students would not be given a vote, but would be able to voice their opinions, providing insight to the board says Ajello.

The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare will consider adding two students to the State Board of Education at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Providence Democrat Edith Ajello, proposes two additional seats on the board, one for a college student and one for a high school student. Both positions would be non-voting, but the students would have their opinions recorded in official minutes from any meeting.

The FBI has joined the search for a missing Brown University student, who disappeared from his Providence apartment earlier this month. Sunil Tripathi was last seen on March 16th. His sister, Sangeeta Tripathi, says the 22-year-old philosophy student had taken a leave of absence from Brown, but his disappearance came as a shock to friends and family.

Monday, March11, 2013

Mar 11, 2013

The new State Board of Education holds its first meeting tonight.  The mayor is planning for upgraded security at North Providence public schools.  These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.

Plus an interview with the new Board of Ed Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso and an interview with the Director of the Division of Elderly Affairs Catherine Taylor.

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