New international testing results show American high school students are only about average when compared to their peers in the developed world. The test, known as the Program for International Student Assessment or PISA, has long been a source of hand-wringing about American competitiveness and calls for more urgent reforms in public schools.
Our panel this week discusses RI's persistently high unemployment; Senator Dawson Hodgson's renewed call for an outside investigation into 38 Studios; Angel Taveras' proposal for instituting universal pre-K in Rhode Island; and Scott MacKay and Maureen Moakley's top turkeys of 2013.
A survey of Rhode Island students has turned up some interesting findings.
The survey of 635 students was conducted last spring by Young Voices, a student advocacy group. They asked their peers what could be done to improve graduation and attendance rates. Young Voices executive director Karen Feldman said two issues came up repeatedly: discipline and hands on learning opportunities.
Rhode Island Kids Count is out with an issue brief on the high school graduation rate in Rhode Island. The latest statistics show that while the four-year graduation rate is increasing, a gap remains between affluent students and their lower-income colleagues.
Providence College says it is following up with students cited for loud parties in the neighborhood around the college.
Providence police have started putting orange stickers on houses that repeatedly cause problems. PC President Rev. Brian Shanley says the college reviews police reports and considers whether students involved in the parties should be disciplined.
"If students are involved with off campus activities that are detrimental, we bring them in and we talk about it, so we are not laissez-faire about this at all," Shanley said.
Rhode Island eighth graders inched upwards on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2013. The standardized test of English and Mathematics, often called "the Nation's Report Card," is administered to groups of 4th and 8th graders around the country.
Rhode Island, like the country on average, has seen scores improve since the early 1990's. Overall, the state's students scored at or slightly above than the national average in 2013.
Blackstone Valley Prep, a mayoral academy based in Cumberland, will receive $2.2 million from the Charter School Growth fund to help pay for a planned expansion. Blackstone Valley Prep currently runs two elementary schools and a middle school, serving students from Cumberland, Central Falls, Pawtucket and Lincoln.