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Students in Newport will learn tips during the new school year on how to stay out of harm’s way when they walk and bike to school.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A group of local science teachers got to see science in action aboard a research cruise this summer. They worked with scientists from the University of Rhode Island.

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The University of Rhode Island has won $500,000 from the National Science Foundation to launch a graduate center focused on science writing.

The program will include workshops and classes to train students in the sciences  to write more clearly and persuasively. University officials said the program is part of a trend on college campuses, as researchers increasingly recognize the importance of communicating beyond academia.

In a unanimous vote, the Coventry School Committee has adopted a resolution calling for the reversal of a new HPV vaccine requirement.

The resolution asks Governor Gina Raimondo to reconsider the rule, which requires incoming seventh graders to be vaccinated against HPV.

The committee voted after several of its members commented that parents are angered by the mandate. In a video posted on YouTube, a member of the audience expressed similar sentiments.

Elisabeth Harrison

A judge has declined to stop a new charter school from opening in Woonsocket. City officials sought an injunction to block RISE Prep, a special type of charter school called a Mayoral Academy. They argued it would take taxpayer money away from local schools. Rhode Island Mayoral Academies Spokeswoman Katelyn Silva disagrees.

“If there are small areas where we can tweak the funding formula to feel more equitable on all sides we are behind that 100 percent,” said Silva. “Until then, I do think that money follows the child is the fairest way to fund public education.”

Local Programs Aim To Stop The 'Summer Slide'

Aug 26, 2015
Katherine Doherty / RIPR

Students are about to return to their classrooms after a long summer break. One thing their teachers are all wondering: how much did they forget over the vacation?

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Rhode Island will get $45,248 in federal funding to help low-income students take Advanced Placement exams.

The U.S. Department of Education announced a round of grants for more than 30 states on Wednesday. Connecticut,  Massachusetts and New Hampshire were also among the states receiving funding.

The grant amounts were based on state estimates of how many AP tests would be taken by low-income students. Federal officials said the program is intended to pay for all but $12 of the cost of each test, although states can require students to pay more.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s New Education Commissioner Ken Wagner started work this week with a visit to a public school in Providence. He stopped by Rhode Island Public Radio to talk about test scores and the state of Rhode Island Public Schools with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

John Bender

Rhode Island's new Education Commissioner Ken Wagner officially begins his tenure on Saturday, August 1st, although he is not expected in the office until Monday.

The Rhode Island Department of Education says his first day on the job will include meetings with students, parents and teachers. Wagner is also expected to meet with his new staff.

A former deputy education commissioner in New York State, Wagner has moved to Rhode Island with his family.

He succeeds Deborah Gist as Rhode Island's education chief.

It might sound something like this spot-on satire from Key & Peele.

Keep watching for the car commercial at the end.


Elisabeth Harrison

Two experimental high schools scheduled to open in Providence this fall will be known as 360 High School and Evolutions High School.

Both schools will be located inside larger, existing high schools. Evolutions will be inside Mt. Pleasant High School, and 360 will be at Hope High School.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave sit down with Roger Williams University President Donald Farish to discuss what he sees as a growing wealth gap among colleges and universities.

Farish believes federal funding has increasingly become concentrated at a small number of elite institutions, many of which already possess significant resources.

Rhode Island’s Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is sounding celebratory notes following the Senate’s approval of a new education policy. The vote significantly revamps the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act.

The Senate passed the new education bill by lopsided 81 to 17 vote.

Whitehouse said the new legislation maintains annual testing requirements, but removes some of the penalties for lower performing schools.

Whitehouse, who helped to draft the legislation, says he heard the concerns of many students and teachers about the impact of No Child Left Behind.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island officially has a new education commissioner after a vote Monday to confirm Governor Gina Raimondo’s nominee, Ken Wagner.

So far, reaction to Wagner has been optimistic, but some teachers have expressed reservations because he lacks experience in the classroom. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down with Larry Purtill, a member of the State Board of Education and the president of the National Education Association Rhode Island, one of two teachers’ unions in the state.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Board of Education has unanimously confirmed Ken Wagner to lead the state department in charge of K-12 schools. Wagner has his work cut out for him when it comes to teachers. Many are hoping that he will reach out to them after they clashed with his predecessor.