Deborah Gist

In a 68-3 vote, the Rhode Island House has approved a bill easing teacher evaluations for the vast majority of public school teachers.

The bill calls for teachers who earn effective or highly effective ratings to be evaluated just once every three to four years, instead of the current policy of annual reviews.

If the bill becomes law, new teachers and teachers with low evaluation ratings would still be evaluated on an annual basis.

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The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday on a bill that would ban test scores as a high school graduation requirement. A state policy requiring test scores has come under fire from critics, who say it is unfair to low income and minority students. But State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has been a strong supporter, arguing that it will ensure that no student graduates from a Rhode Island high school without basic knowledge of math and English.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A trial run for the new standardized test known as the PARCC exam begins in Rhode Island next week. The test is slated to replace the annual NECAP in 2015, as public schools transition to a new set of standards called the Common Core.

A growing group of parents, teachers and others continue to raise questions about test and the Common Core. They are calling on Rhode Island lawmakers to stop the initiative in a movement that mirrors similar anti-Common Core efforts around the country.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island lawmakers are slated to consider a bill Wednesday that takes on one of the  most contentious issues in public education. The bill calls for a commission to study the Common Core Standards, a new set of national standards for K-12 classrooms.

Rhode Island teachers are already using the standards, and they will soon give students a new standardized test to go with them, but a growing number of critics charge the standards are stressing students out.

State lawmakers are scheduled to consider a bill that could have major consequences for classrooms across the state.

The bill, sponsored by East Providence Representative Gregg Amore, would halt the adoption of new standardized testing, known as PARCC, which is linked to the Common Core, a new set of national standards for public schools. The bill is scheduled for a committee hearing on Wednesday.

Rhode Island has begun adopting the standards, although opponents charge they are untested and require further study.