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 College has seen a nearly 60 percent increase in the number of veterans on campus since 2009.
RIC has taken steps to better serve veterans, including opening a Veterans’ Resource Center, which helps connect veterans to a wide variety of services, including federal and state tuition assistance.
The center also employs student veterans in work study positions and makes regular phone calls to veterans to see how they are doing. RIC says the calls are a way of checking in on student veterans, who may not visit the resource center but may still have questions.
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.
As the candidates officially launch their 2014 bids for governor, I plan to ask each of them to lay out their positions on top education issues. I started with democrat Angel Taveras.
As mayor of Providence, Taveras joined several state lawmakers in speaking out against a policy tying the standardized test known as NECAP to high school graduation. Taveras says his concern was with the test itself, not the principal of tying testing to a high school diploma.
Achievement First is a brand new charter school in Providence that also operates schools in Connecticut and New York. Critics fought hard to keep it from opening in Rhode Island, arguing that among other problems, it would take money away from other public schools. But supporters and organizers from Achievement First say they are offering an alternative to public schools that are struggling. Rhode Island Public Radio's Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison took a tour of the Providence school.