The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit to keep the state’s Board of Education from holding a retreat that’s closed to the public.
The upcoming retreat will feature presentations on high stakes testing. It will be closed to both the media and the public. Rhode Island ACLU chapter executive director Steve Brown said that undermines the state’s open meetings laws.
State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins the Political Roundtable this week to discuss legislative attempts to improve Rhode Island's economy; the search for a new state commissioner of higher education; and why the Senate voted in April to legalize same-sex marriage.
Political Analyst Scott MacKay and Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison discuss leadership problems at the Rhode Island Office Higher Education, after Governor Lincoln Chafee announced he would rescind his pick for Higher Education Commissioner. The candidate, attorney Eva-Marie Mancuso, raised ethics questions because she chairs the State Board of Education, the same board that would have to vote on her nomination.
Additional reporting for this story by Ian Donnis.
University officials are not saying whether they will keep Steven Cohen as a member of the Brown Corporation, after the company he founded, SAC Capital Advisors, was charged with widespread insider trading.
Cohen himself is not named in the federal indictment, but the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against him, accusing him of mismanaging the company.
SAC Capital denies the accusations, saying Cohen acted appropriately at all times.
The lawsuit filed against the Rhode Island Board of Education by the American Civil Liberties Union does not address the merits of a new test-based graduation requirement, focusing instead on a procedural issue. The ACLU’s local director, Steve Brown, said he is still hoping the board will reconsider the testing policy and move to reverse it.
The complaint alleges the board failed to properly respond to a petition from the ACLU and several other groups seeking to stop the policy, which requires students to show partial proficiency on tests of Math and English to earn a diploma.
The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union plans to announce details of a lawsuit Wednesday over the state’s high school graduation policy. The suit stems from a new requirement that students show partial proficiency on standardized state testing to qualify for a diploma.
The ACLU and other groups have asked state officials to reconsider the policy, arguing that it overwhelmingly impacts minority and low income students. Statewide, roughly 4,000 students failed to meet the testing bar during their junior year.
A Providence private school is planning to close its elementary school and launch a charter school. Organizers from Community Prep say their goal is to find out whether they can extend a successful reputation to a randomly selected group of students.
Community Prep is known for a strong academic program and diverse student body, with many students receiving substantial scholarships. The school is now seeking approval from state officials to close its 3rd, 4th and 5th grades and replace them with a Kindergarten-5th grade charter school.
Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed a law allowing fewer school days in Rhode Island's public schools. The law requires any reduction in school days to be offset with an increase in class time. Still, supporters say, the move will provide more flexibility for school officials looking to reign in cost.
"We have to do anything we can to help schools stay on budget while still giving students the education they deserve,” said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Roger Picard, a Democrat representing Woonsocket and Cumberland in a written statement.
Blackstone Valley Prep has received the go-ahead from state officials to continue operating for another five years and more than double the number of schools it runs around the state.
Blackstone Valley Prep, a charter school, currently operates two elementary schools in Cumberland and a middle school in Lincoln. Plans call for a high school to open this fall at a location still to be determined.