education

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner is backing a plan to add 2,192 seats to the charter for Achievement First, a mayoral academy that currently operates two elementary schools in Providence. Wagner has also come out in favor of more modest expansions at the Paul Cuffee School in Providence and the Learning Community Charter School in Central Falls.

Hundreds of teachers and school leaders are expected in Providence Thursday for the Coalition of Essential Schools Fall Forum. The group was founded by former Brown University Education Chair Ted Sizer, who advocated for giving schools freedom to design their own programs.

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Students around the College Hill neighborhood of Providence expressed dismay over the election of Donald Trump as the country’s 45th president. Brown University students held “self-care” gatherings on the campus green. Rhode Island School of Design faculty told students to take the Wednesday off if they wanted.

Brown student, Katherine Duckworth voted for Hillary Clinton, and said she can’t talk about the results and not cry.

Elisabeth Harrison

Across the country, teachers have been seizing on this election as an opportunity to bring civics to life in their classrooms. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison checked in with Rhode Island teachers to find out how they're approaching a contentious political season.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania has removed Rev. Howard White from the priesthood, citing allegations of sexual abuse documented in a report about St. George's School in Middletown. 

Sen. Edward Markey's staff estimated that as many as 14 million students in the U.S. could be attending schools contaminated with toxic PCBs. PCBs were banned in the late 70s, but were used in light fixtures and caulking in schools built or renovated between 1950 and 1979. They've been listed as a known human carcinogen and have been tied to an assortment of health problems, such as delayed development and attention problems.

How Providence is working to get more kids to school every day; and what happened to the $75 million Rhode Island spent in federal Race to theTop funding?  Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison looks for answers from Providence Superintendent of Schools Chris Maher on our weekly Bonus Q&A. Political reporter Ian Donnis returns next week.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Analysis by Rhode Island Public Radio finds urban and middle class students in Rhode Island have lower test scores than their peers in Massachusetts; and the state’s ambitious goal to improve 3rd grade reading skills in less than a decade. We discuss the top issues in public education on a special education edition of our weekly political roundtable. 

Achievement First in Providence wants to add a third K-8 school and move forward with its plan to open a high school, and the Segue Middle School in Central Falls wants to add an elementary school. Those are just two of the charter school proposals on tap at the Rhode Island Department of Education. 

Elisabeth Harrison

After just two years of PARCC, there is little longitudinal data to help us understand how students and their schools are doing. But one of the promises of PARCC was that it would allow state-by-state comparisons of achievement, so let’s see what we can learn by comparing scores from Rhode Island with our high-achieving neighbor to the north: Massachusetts.

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State officials say a new initiative to increase the use of digital textbooks will cut costs for many students and make higher education more accessible for everyone, including English language learners.

The open-license, digital textbooks are generally free and can be downloaded on a student’s computer. They can also be updated or changed the professor giving the course.

Sixty Rhode Island teachers are heading back to college to learn how to teach English as a second language. The program, a collaboration between urban school districts, the state and the Rhode Island Foundation, will cover the cost of tuition so that more teachers can gain certifications to teach English Language Learners or teach in bi-lingual programs known as dual language classrooms.

RIPR file photo

Fewer than one in three Rhode Island students is proficient in science, according to results from the most recent round of state science testing. Scores for 8th graders have shown no gains since the state began administering the test in 2008.

Some 30,000 students in grades 4, 8 and 11 took the test, known as the NECAP Science Test, in May. Roughly 29 percent scored proficient or better, a slight decrease from last year.

Average scores were better for elementary students than for middle or high school students, but no districts reported significant gains this year.

Listenwise helps teachers use stories from their local public radio station with students in their classrooms. Working with RIPR we identify relevant local news stories, design and develop classroom resources around them and make them available for free on the Education Blog. If you want to find more public radio stories and lessons for your middle and high school ELA, social studies, and science classrooms you can sign up for a free account! 

Elisabeth Harrison

Participation in SAT testing rose 1 percent for the class of 2016, with a record 6,303 students taking the test required for admission at many colleges. But average scores dropped by two points in reading and three points in Math, according to state education officials.

While the drop in scores was consistent with a nationwide trend, Rhode Island scores were below the national average. Local students scored 16 points below average in Math and nine points below average in reading. Writing scores were seven points lower than the national average.

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