Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has turned down a request from students for a public debate over high stakes testing. The invitation came from the Providence Student Union, a student advocacy group operating in Providence Public Schools.
The group plans to hold a protest vigil at the Department of Education with candles, dirges and other symbols of mourning. Organizers say the demonstration is meant as a “tongue in cheek display of mourning for the expected ‘death’ of Education Commissioner Gist’s reputation.”
Rhode Island has lifted a ban on armed police forces at state colleges, after a Board of Education vote last night. The board’s new policy allows each state institution to make the decision about whether campus police officers will carry guns.
The State Board of Education discussed a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist last night but took no action. The conversation took place behind closed doors, which is standard practice for personnel matters.
At least 200 people attended the public portion of the board meeting, some to testify in opposition to Gist and others to speak on a controversial measure to arm state college police. The board passed the measure on campus police, allowing each state university to make its own decision about arming campus police forces.
As Rhode Island grapples with high school diplomas tied to test scores, Massachusetts students have faced a similar requirement for a decade. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison visited Attleboro High School to find out how high-stakes testing has changed what’s being taught.
There’s a meaty agenda on tap this week at the State Board of Education. The group is scheduled to vote Thursday on a controversial proposal to allow police to carry guns on state college campuses. The board is also scheduled to vote on adopting new science standards and consider a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.
Legislation up for a vote Tuesday in the State Senate would allow school districts to shorten the school year, if they make the school day longer.
The bill says districts should be able to scrap the current requirement of 180 days as long as they have the equivalent number of hours. Assuming the school day lasts six hours, that works out to 1,080 hours.
Rhode Island is teeming with freshly minted college graduates this morning. Over the weekend, commencement ceremonies were held at all three public colleges, as well as Johnson &Wales, Roger Williams University, Bryant University, Salve Regina University and Providence College.
At Rhode Island College a flash mob formed at the end of the ceremony. Graduates from the music, theater and dance departments led the crowd of 1,400 in a special rendition of “I’ve had the Time of My Life.”
Rhode Island’s two teachers’ unions are holding a forum for teachers to discuss their dissatisfaction with new policies in the state’s public schools.
Teachers have complained about the pace of changes under State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, and they are particularly concerned about new annual teacher evaluations, which include test scores as one measure of teacher effectiveness. The teachers have asked the state to slow down implementation of the evaluations, saying they are time consuming and need adjustment.
The state Board of Education is scheduled to vote this week on a proposal to arm campus police at the state’s three public colleges. Under the proposed rule, campus presidents would have the authority to decide whether armed security is necessary on their campuses.