Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A group of parents wants Rhode Island to require recess as part of the school day. The parents are organizing to make their case at a public hearing scheduled for Monday.

Katherine Doherty / RIPR

A large group of Brown University students and faculty rallied Thursday to show their solidarity with college students in Missouri. Students at the University of Missouri forced the resignation this week of the university president, amid allegations that a ignored racially charged atmosphere on campus.

At Brown University, students stepped forward to express their opinions on race, including Brown senior Justice Gaines.

JWU Media Relations

Starting this month, Johnson & Wales students will have access to a full crime lab at the university’s criminal justice department. Work in the lab will be required for all students who major in criminal justice.

JWU spent some $650,000 outfitting a lab with the latest forensic microscopes and other technology so students can analyze fingerprints, blood spatter and other evidence. There’s also a re-enactment room, which Criminal Justice Department Chair Alison Goodrich likes to call “the murder room.”

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

In 1987, researchers in Finland began following tens of thousands of babies who were about to be born. In fact, they followed every child born in Finland that year, and they continue to follow them today. The study is known as the 1987 Finnish Birth Cohort Study. One of the key findings is that poverty for very young children can have lasting consequences.  Rhode Island College Graduate Tina Ristikari is one of the researchers who have been studying this data. She told Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison what the Ocean State can learn from it.

The group tasked with reevaluating the way the state spends money on K-12 education meets for the first time Tuesday. The state’s current plan for education spending is now five years old.

The Funding Formula Working Group will examine what changes might be made to the system, which comprises the second largest slice of the state’s budget.

Among the issues the group will tackle are the funding of charter schools, special-needs education, and programs for English language learners.

Elisabeth Harrison

School resource officers, police officers who are embedded in public schools, have become commonplace in Rhode Island. But the practice is under new scrutiny after a controversial incident in South Carolina, where an officer dragged a high school student from her chair, flipping the student and her desk onto the floor in the process.

In Burrillville, Officer David Beauchemin takes what I would describe as a community policing approach to the district's five public schools.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

There’s an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose unfolding across Rhode Island right now, and Burrillville, a small town in the northwestern corner of the state has been particularly hard hit.

How's that presidential campaign working out for you? Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and feedback are welcome via email, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Council for Elementary and Secondary Education approved funding for school building projects in more than a dozen school districts. Most of the money comes from a multi-million school building authority proposed by Governor Gina Raimondo and passed by state lawmakers.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Council on Higher Education wants to freeze tuition at state colleges and universities for the upcoming academic year. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down with State Higher Education Commissioner Jim Purcell to ask about the cost of a college degree.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Children who know more words tend to do better in school, and that has some researchers wondering whether early language may offer a key to closing the achievement gap. That’s why Providence has launched Providence Talks, with millions of dollars from the Bloomberg Foundation. The program hopes to boost children’s vocabularies by teaching parents to be chattier with their babies and toddlers.

Data from a pilot study due out Monday shows promise. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison went on a home visit with a Providence Talks coach, to see how the program works.

John Bender / RIPR

In an effort to keep more college graduates in Rhode Island, Roger Williams University is making some changes. The university is preparing to open a $10 million campus in downtown Providence, at the former site of 38 Studios and a marine center in Bristol.

Rhode Island is 7th in the nation for children’s healthcare coverage. That’s according to 2014 numbers from the U.S. Census.  It’s a big jump from last year, when Rhode Island was 16th.

Today, nearly 97 percent of Rhode Island children have health insurance, up from about 94 percent in 2013. Elizabeth Burke-Bryant of the advocacy non-profit Rhode Island Kid’s Count said the leap can be partly attributed to a major PR push to get people insured, under Obamacare.

Elisabeth Harrison

The Federal Department of Education has given the go ahead to Rhode Island's plan to address inequities in the distribution of highly-qualified teachers and principals.

In creating the plan, the State Department of Education conducted a study, which found that high poverty, high minority schools are the most likely to have inexperienced teachers and principals on staff. The study also found that middle schools have the highest percentage of inexperienced teachers. 


Newport teachers wrapped up two days of training Thursday before the new school year starts after Labor Day. But their contract talks remain at an impasse. National Education Association of Rhode Island President Larry Purtill said there is still time to return to the bargaining table.

“Right now there’s nothing formally set up or any formal discussion but I would hope that would take place very quickly,” said Purtill.

The main sticking point is a contract provision that provides extra pay when class sizes go over the limit.