Deborah Gist

The Education Blog
9:07 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Board Allows Fees for Summer School

Public schools can charge tuition for summer school courses, under a decision from the State Board of Education

The board voted 7-2 last night to uphold a decision from State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, in a case that pits a relatively common practice in suburban schools against concerns about fairness for low-income students.

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The Education Blog
1:36 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

RIDE Delays Release of Science Test Scores

Rhode Island’s Department of Education has delayed the release of test scores from the most recent standardized state science test, administered in May.

RIDE officials say they have concerns about the scores for one grade level and will not release a score report expected on Wednesday.

RIDE Spokesman Elliot Krieger declined to elaborate about the exact nature of the concerns, but he says RIDE is working with the testing company, Measured Progress, to review the results.

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The Education Blog
9:32 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Board Schedules Hearings on High Stakes Testing

The Rhode Island Board of Education has released dates for a series of hearings on delaying high stakes testing until at least 2020.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers halted a plan to introduce standardized test scores as a graduation requirement for the class of 2014. The legislation puts off the use of testing as part of the state's diploma system until 2017.

The legislation prompted State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist to propose waiting until 2020 to introduce high stakes testing. The Board of Education is now considering the new timetable.

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The Education Blog
10:48 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Race to the Top Spending Winds Down

Rhode Island's Race to the Top Steering Committee held its final meeting on Monday, as Rhode Island enters the final year of spending from the $75 million federal education grant. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist presented a review of how the money has been used. Slightly less than $10 million remains from the grant.

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The Education Blog
2:11 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

RIDE to Review Use of Standardized Testing

With concern growing over the amount of time students spend on standardized testing, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has launched a review of state and local testing practices. Gist says she wants to address complaints from parents and teachers about over-testing.

“None of us wants to test students too much, and each of us can consider ways to streamline the assessment process,” Gist wrote in a letter to superintendents announcing the review, adding that the goal is to eliminate assessments that do not advance teaching and learning.

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The Education Blog
9:51 am
Wed August 27, 2014

ACLU Responds to Gist Change of Heart

The head of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says he welcomes any further delay in linking test scores to high school graduation.

ACLU of RI Director Steve Brown says waiting until 2020 could give schools more time to address systemic problems and intervene with struggling students. But Brown says he remains concerned that the State Department of Education is simply delaying a policy that would hold students accountable for the failures of their schools.

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The Education Blog
9:03 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Gist Explains New Stance on High Stakes Testing

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

In the wake of a General Assembly decision to delay standardized testing for a high school diploma until 2017, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is now suggesting that the policy be pushed back even further to 2020. Rhode Island Public Radio Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison asked Gist what made her change her position after arguing vigorously that Rhode Island should start linking test scores and diplomas this year.

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The Education Blog
9:17 am
Tue August 26, 2014

A Reversal on High Stakes Testing?

Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is recommending more delays for a policy linking standardized test scores to a high school diploma. Gist says she now believes the policy should remain on hold until 2020.

The comments may come as a surprise after Gist championed the test-linked diploma for months despite increasing pressure from some students and groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who said the policy was unfair to low-income students and students with disabilities.

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The Education Blog
9:16 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Gist: High Stakes Testing Moratorium Is A Delay

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is not giving up on efforts to link test scores to a high school diploma. Gist says a new state law barring the practice until 2017 is a delay, but she is still expecting the policy to take effect three years from now.

"While I'm disappointed about this because I feel confident that we are where we need to be to carry this out, I understand the decision," Gist told RIPR during an in-depth interview. "We are going to take a little bit more time, but what we're not going to do is lower our sense of urgency."

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The Education Blog
6:31 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Governor Declines to Veto High Stakes Testing Moratorium

A bill halting a controversial test-based graduation requirement will become law without a signature from Governor Lincoln Chafee.

Chafee declined to sign the bill but also declined a veto.

The bill bars the use of standardized test scores for a high school diploma until at least 2017. State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, who opposed the bill, vowed to keep pushing school leaders to improve student performance.

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