Rhode Island

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse took an active role in the overhaul of the “No Child Left Behind Act”. That’s the federal education law that ushered in a new emphasis on standardized testing in public schools. The new law, known as the “Every Student Succeeds Act” is supposed to reduce the focus on testing. It got a signature last week from President Barack Obama. Senator Whitehouse joins Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison now to discuss the new law.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

In 1989, playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s “The Heidi Chronicles” won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Now, Trinity Rep in Providence has revived this very personal play. Rhode Island Public Radio Theater Critic Bill Gale says maybe they should have left well enough alone.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Language immersion programs known as “dual language” programs are a growing trend in public elementary schools. They allow students to become bilingual in English and another language, like Spanish. 

Providence school officials have just announced a plan to offer new dual language programs in Spanish and possibly Mandarin at Carl Lauro Elementary School.

The programs would begin with two Kindergarten classrooms in each language, then add a grade every year until fifth grade.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Islanders are reacting to the passage of new federal legislation for public schools. The "Every Student Succeeds Act" is expected to get a signature Thursday from President Barack Obama. Rhode Island Association of School Committees Executive Director Tim Duffy said a new law will help state and local officials move forward with their efforts to improve public schools.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island government agencies are among the state’s top energy consumers, spending about $35 million a year on energy bills.

Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order to reduce that energy consumption. She’s committing state agencies to get 100 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025 and to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent by 2019.

John Bender

After months of street construction, new traffic patterns have been introduced in downtown Providence. Two major roads that used to be one direction only are now open for two-way traffic. The streets are Dorrance Street in front of the Biltmore Hotel and Exchange Terrace leading toward the Convention Center.

RIPR FILE

Tickets for the Newport Folk Festival go on sale Wednesday, about six months before the event. As usual, no artists have yet been announced for the 2016 festival. In previous years, a limited number of early-bird tickets were sold first. This year, all tickets will be released at the same time, (though the first ten percent sold will be discounted.)

Organizers expect tickets to go quickly, as the event has sold out in recent years. The Folk Festival is limited to about 10,000 people per day, making it smaller than many other high-profile music festivals.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave sit down with president and CEO of Collette of Pawtucket, Dan Sullivan. Sullivan is a travel industry veteran, whose company organizes guided vacations and tours all over the world. The three talk about how the travel industry has been affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, what travelers should know about security, and the growing popularity of Cuba as a travel destination.

When to listen:

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Police are maintaining extra patrols this weekend in an attempt to reduce cases of impaired driving.

Law enforcement calls the Thanksgiving holiday weekend one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the roads. In an effort to fight that, State Police and local departments are teaming up as part of what they call Operation Blue RIPTIDE.

This effort is funded by the state Department of Transportation. Extra police patrols will be on the lookout for impaired drivers in high-traffic, high-incident areas.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

This month we bring you a special, Thanksgiving Rhode Island  Artscape. We take look at the art and the history of the Thanksgiving menu, and how it’s changed

John Bender / RIPR

As families across the state prepare to put their Thanksgiving turkeys in the oven for a long roasting, some may wonder, just where that fowl came from. Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender visited one poultry farm in West Greenwich to find out more about raising these traditional birds. 

RIPR FILE

Governor Gina Raimondo is using the words “Christmas tree” in connection with a holiday celebration at the State House. That’s in contrast to the initial approach used by former governor Lincoln Chafee.

In Governor Chafee’s first year in office, in 2011, he called the tree in the State House rotunda a “holiday tree.” Chafee maintained his approach was in keeping with tradition, but critics said the governor was stepping on the spirit of the holiday.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR FILE

Rhode Island is joining a national effort to increase reading proficiency in elementary school. New state and national test scores show major achievement gaps.

According to the new PARCC standardized test, and another known as the Nation’s Report card, low-income fourth graders are about half as likely to be reading at grade level as their peers.

The new initiative, spearheaded by the education advocacy non-profit RI Kids Count and the United Way of Rhode Island, hopes to close that gap, by the third grade.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has signed a subpoena calling on Curt Schilling to appear for a December 15th meeting of the House Oversight Committee.

As we near Thanksgiving Day, it is, of course, a time to give thanks for good friends and food, for the time to take stock of the things that matter. Rhode Island Public Radio commentator Bob Kerr likes to make a list of things he’s thankful for. He finds it’s a healthy exercise, and the good things come into sharper focus each year.

Bob Kerr began the tradition of a Thanksgiving list during his long tenure as a newspaper columnist. You can find more of his musings about life and Rhode Island at our website, ripr.org.

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