Providence Mayor Angel Taveras says it’s a dream that the city won a $5 million prize to help low-income children boost language skills. The prize money came from a philanthropic organization set up by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Providence won with a program that will equip low-income children with devices that record conversations and count the words they are exposed to. The children’s parents will then be coached on ways to expose kids to more words. The goal is to close what’s known as “the word gap,” between low-income and more affluent four-year-olds.
Providence has won $5 million from the Bloomberg Philanthropies to count the number of words low-income children hear in a typical day. The project aims to address what many experts say is at the heart of the achievement gap: the fact that some children arrive in school with far richer vocabularies than others.
For the contest, Bloomberg asked cities to submit plans that would drive innovation in urban areas. Providence proposed giving children tracking devices to record the words they hear, and giving their parents advice on how to improve the children’s vocabularies.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee is coming under fire for not releasing a report on Medicaid and food stamps fraud. The pension settlement reached between Providence and its workers and retirees has been approved. These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.
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It took seven years and $21 million, but a large affordable housing complex in the west end of Providence is finally ready for occupancy.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee joined with other dignitaries to celebrate the completion with a ribbon cutting. The apartments are scattered in 23 buildings. Rhode Island Housing director Richard Godfrey says the buildings were in pretty rough shape.
"They were all vacant. Some of them were burned out. All boarded," says Godfrey. "It was a very, very distressed neighborhood."
Rhode Island state veterinarian Scott Marshall is defending the actions of his law enforcement officers at a pet show in Providence this past weekend. Some cat owners were angry when environmental police demanded health and rabies certificates.
In fact the president of the International Cat Association was so upset she’s threatening to move the group’s annual convention out of Providence.
The season of St. Patrick’s has already kicked off in Rhode Island. Pawtucket’s annual parade stepped off on Saturday. Newport’s St. Patrick’s Day parade gets marching on Saturday, March 16. And Providence’s parade takes place next Saturday. Sister Anne Keefe has been named this year’s Grand Marshal for the Providence parade. She’s recognized for her work in social justice and human rights, including chairing the Providence Human Rights Commission and co-founding the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.
A Providence school teacher accused of taking a teenage boy to Florida will have a lot of time on his hands when he returns to Rhode Island. 56 year old David Jones has been placed on administrative leave while the Providence School Department launches an investigation.
David Jones may have bailed out of jail over the weekend. The Dade County, Florida jail, where Jones had been detained on $9,000 bond, said it had no one by that name Sunday morning.