The American Civil Liberties Union claims Rhode Island’s Board of Education broke the law when it failed to consider a petition over high-stakes testing as a requirement for a high school diploma. The lawsuit has a narrow focus and is unlikely to settle controversy over the graduation policy.
Governor Lincoln Chafee says he stands behind his decision to appoint Eva Marie Mancuso as the state’s interim commissioner for higher education. But Chafee says he knows the state Ethics Commission could scrap the appointment.
The State Board of Education put off a vote Monday night on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s recommendation of attorney Eva-Marie Mancuso for State Commissioner of Higher Education. The delay followed warnings from Common Cause Rhode Island that the appointment would constitute an ethics violation.
Common Cause Rhode Island is urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to withdraw his nominee for interim higher education commissioner. The governor has tapped the chair of the Board of Education for a job overseen by the board she leads.
Common Cause has asked Governor Lincoln Chafee to withdraw his recommendation of attorney Eva-Marie Mancuso for interim state commissioner of higher education.
Mancuso is currently chair of the State Board of Education, and Common Cause says that should bar her from consideration. The good-government group cites ethics rules that prohibit state board members from taking paid positions within the agencies they oversee.
A vote Monday at the State Board of Education may create a leadership void at a key moment for opponents of a new test-based high school graduation requirement.
Those opponents have lined up some 20 people from the state’s higher education community to testify at Monday’s meeting, but they may be overshadowed by a vote to turn State Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso into the state’s Interim Commissioner of Higher Education. Governor Lincoln Chafee announced Mancuso as his choice for the post on Friday.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee is recommending that the chair of the state Board of Education give up that position to become the state Commissioner of Higher Education. The appointment would be full time, but only temporary while the board conducts a search for a permanent commissioner.
The governor said he chose board chair Eva-Marie Mancuso because he believes higher education needs full time leadership at this time.
Mancuso says she is thrilled at the chance to lead the state office of higher education, a post with a $200,000 salary.
The State Board of Education met Thursday to discuss the future of the Office of Higher Education, which is slated to stop receiving state funding in July of 2014. Lawmakers dealt the department an early blow in the new budget, cutting funding by roughly 40 percent. Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso says she was disappointed by the decision.
“I was surprised,” Mancuso said. “I was not happy because it’s premature in my mind. They gave us until next July to in fact meet that goal, and so it’s going to be challenging.”
State Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso says she remains firm in her support for test-based graduation requirements. Mancuso says she wants the board to study whether the standardized test known as the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, is the best test to use, but she denies backing away from high-stakes testing.
"We haven't backed off from that at all," Mancuso said. "We're just looking to see if there's a measure that's better to show proficiency, other than just the NECAP."
After hours of deliberation … and discussion with Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist … the state's education board approved a new 2-year contract for Gist. The vote was 7 -3 with one abstention. Rhode Island Public Radio's Catherine Welch was there and has this report.