The University of Rhode Island broke ground this morning on a center for the school’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. The center is unique among college campuses.
URI says it’s the only school in the nation to design and build a center specifically for the LGBTQ community. State officials were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking, including Governor Lincoln Chafee, and state senator Frank Ferri, who championed Rhode Island’s push for legal same-sex marriages. Annie Russell is the center’s director.
The University of Rhode Island breaks ground Wednesday on a new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center.
URI officials say the start of construction is groundbreaking in more ways than one. They believe URI is the first university in the country to have a separate building dedicated solely as an LGBTQ center.
In the past, URI has faced criticism for being an unfriendly campus to gay and lesbian students. The university has also faced accusations that officials forced out a popular advisor, Andrew Winters, who worked on gay and lesbian issues.
Police say they have made several arrests after a Richmond teenager required medical attention from consuming marijuana-laced candy. One 14-year-old was charged with drug crimes in connection with the incident while another was caught with drug-laced candy and prescription pills. A Chariho High School student was arrested for drug crimes on Monday.
Richmond Police Chief Elwood Johnson said the candy could have contained more than just THC.
The latest Kids Count Fact Book comes out Monday. That’s an annual report about the health and well-being of children in Rhode Island. Researchers find many of the state’s minority children are still disproportionately at risk.
Achievement gaps persist for minority students, and college graduates can expect to earn less in Rhode Island than elsewhere in New England. Those are some of the key findings in a new report from the Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now, an education advocacy group that favors expanding charter schools and improving access to early education.
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.
Education officials are taking a "wait and see" approach to leadership changes at the Statehouse, with several education bills pending in the legislature.
"We've had a good relationship with leadership over time," said Elliot Krieger, the spokesman for State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. "Like everyone else, we're waiting to see what the new leadership will be."
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.
One of Rhode Island's two teachers' unions, the National Education Association Rhode Island, has endorsed democrat Clay Pell in the race for governor.
NEARI President Larry Purtill says this gubernatorial race will play a crucial role in the future of public education.
"We need a candidate who will listen to educators, stop the testing craze and make sure that every Rhode Island student has the opportunity for a great public school education," Purtill said in a written statement.