Governor-Elect Gina Raimondo has no immediate plans to hire a new commissioner for K-12 education.

Current Commissioner Deborah Gist has been controversial because of her support for testing as a requirement for high school graduation and teacher evaluations.

Raimondo says she’s in no hurry to make a decision about Gist.

"She’s doing a great job," Raimondo said last week. "Her contract’s not up until the end of June, so there’s really no urgency to move on that one in particular."

After cancelling a trip several weeks ago, Rhode Island College will finally get a visit from President Barack Obama. The president is expected to discuss women in the workplace and the economy.

He is likely to tout new data showing an increase in Gross Domestic Product, which is seen by many analysts as an encouraging sign of growth in the U.S.

RIC officials say classes will go forward as scheduled, although some locations had to be changed to accommodate security for the president.


Besides the competitive state elections and ballot questions, voters next week will elect every member of the Rhode Island General Assembly. As part of our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay speaks with morning host Elisabeth Harrison for a look at the major battles in the state legislature.

Elisabeth Harrison

As the days tick down before the November election, we’re looking at the major issues and the candidates in Rhode Island’s race for governor. Today in our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison delves into the front runners' positions on education, from expanding charter schools to preparing graduates for the workforce needs of the 21st Century.


The three main candidates for governor will square off during a televised debate Tuesday evening.

Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Allan Fung, and Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey will take part in the 7 pm debate at the Providence Performing Arts Center. The forum will be the first televised debate since Raimondo and Fung won their respective party primaries on September 9th.

Rhode Island's next governor - whether it's Republican Allan Fung or Democrat Gina Raimondo - will have plenty of challenges to tackle upon taking office. The state's ailing economy will most likely hold the spotlight over the next eight weeks until the general election. But perhaps I could put a few health care items on the agenda for their consideration - and for the general assembly's.

Speaking Tuesday night at a special edition of RIPR's Political Roundtable, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said he made "a very public mistake" when he fired every Providence public school teacher early on in his tenure as mayor.

At the time, Taveras said the firings would give the city flexibility in the midst of a financial crisis.

A so-called “people’s pledge” has been hammered out and agreed to by the three leading democratic candidates running for governor. The goal is to limit outside spending.

To limit that outside spending, Clay Pell, Gina Raimondo, and Angel Taveras have agreed to a pledge calling for any candidate who benefits from an ad bought by an outside group to make a charitable donation for the same amount of the ad buy.

John F. Kennedy put it eloquently in his 1961 inaugural address: ``Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.’’

The Ocean State elections promise to turn friend into foe, but that happens every two years in our insular political culture. What is becoming notable as the parade forms for the 2014 is the changing of the generational guard.

Courtesy Providence College

A Providence College professor who has been using the government shutdown as a teaching tool says it has had a profound impact on his students.

Political science professor Joseph Cammarano says his students are less likely to want to enter government service when they see the dysfunction in Washington.

A bill scheduled for debate Wednesday on Smith Hill would make student test scores no more than one third of a teacher’s annual evaluation. The bill’s sponsor is Senator Michael McCaffrey, a democrat from Warwick. The measure is slated for a hearing this afternoon in the Senate Education Committee.

Rhode Island may finally have a confirmed Board of Education following a vote Tuesday at the State House. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the seven remaining appointees for the board, which will oversee public schools, colleges and universities.

The nominees include proposed board chair, Eva Marie Mancuso and former Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members Patrick Guida and Karin Forbes. Four other members of the 11-person board have already received Senate approval.

RI State Police Colonel Steven O'Donnell
Kristin Gourlay

Are Rhode Island gun laws tough enough? What’s happening with the 38 Studios investigation? And how about the Mafia – have years of aggressive law enforcement brought them to their knees? Those are some of the questions we put to the head of the state police on this week’s Political Roundtable, hosted by Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic.

RI Governor Lincoln Chafee
RIPR file

A persistently high unemployment rate and the fate of last year’s pension overhaul in mediation are some of the top issues facing the state starting next month. As we transition into the New Year, Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis has been talking with state leaders. Last week he sat down with Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, today with Governor Lincoln Chafee,
Next week, Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis will talk with state Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he and the General Assembly have most of the authority to approve a settlement in a legal challenge to last year’s landmark pension overhaul. Court-ordered mediation is set to begin next month.
State treasurer Gina Raimondo was the architect of the pension overhaul passed last year by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. Raimondo and Chafee are both defendants in the legal challenge filed by five public-sector unions against the overhaul.
Chafee says approval by Raimondo isn’t necessarily part of a settlement in the case.