Education

Elisabeth Harrison

Participation in SAT testing rose 1 percent for the class of 2016, with a record 6,303 students taking the test required for admission at many colleges. But average scores dropped by two points in reading and three points in Math, according to state education officials.

While the drop in scores was consistent with a nationwide trend, Rhode Island scores were below the national average. Local students scored 16 points below average in Math and nine points below average in reading. Writing scores were seven points lower than the national average.

Ready to Learn Providence, an education nonprofit, is working to regain funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The nonprofit has already laid off five employees and expects another round of layoffs next week.

Federal education officials put a hold on $1.5 million of the nonprofit's funding following allegations of embezzlement at Ready To Learn's parent organization, The Providence Plan.

Ready to Learn runs early childhood education programs in the Providence Public School system. 

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Katherine Doherty

Gov. Gina Raimondo sat down with high school students Tuesday at Providence's Central High Schoolto hear about their experiences taking college courses through a state program known as PrepareRI.

The program, which covers the cost of college courses for public school students, has been touted by Raimondo and others as a way to encourage more students to attend college. It's also seen as a way to give students a discount on the cost of college by allowing them to arrive on campus with credits already under their belts.

RIPR file photo

By 2025, 75 percent of Rhode Island's third graders will be "proficient or better" in reading, according to the goal announced Wednesday by Gov. Gina Raimondo. In setting the target, Raimondo cited evidence that suggests third grade reading is a strong indicator of future success in school.

"Today, I'm drawing a line in the sand and setting a clear goal for Rhode Island: By 2025, when the kids who were born this year reach third grade, three out of four will be reading at grade level," Raimondo said in a prepared statement.

Labor Day has come and gone, schools are back in session, and once again teachers are on the hunt for classroom supplies. Many of them will head straight to Resources for Rhode Island Education, a non-profit organization that, for 25 years, has been recycling manufacturers’ excess material, and making it available to schools and community organizations.

In many ways, this story really starts with the fact that there are always people with stuff they want to get rid of, like Mack the Finger, from Bob Dylan’s classic song "Highway 61."

RIPR FILE

Voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary elections in Rhode Island, and one of those primaries will fill a House seat formerly held by Ray Gallison. The Democrat resigned under a law enforcement probe likely to include legislative grants, given to an organization with Gallison on the payroll. Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay discussed the race with News Director Elisabeth Harrison.

Katherine Doherty

After the long summer break, it's back to school this week for many Rhode Island students.

In Coventry and Barrington, classes start Monday. Lincoln and Burrillville are among the districts resuming school on Tuesday. 

Warwick reopens elementary schools and 9th grade on Wednesday. In Cranston, students head back to class on Thursday.

Little Compton, Portsmouth and some charter schools are already back in session as of last week. Providence and Newport won’t resume classes until after Labor Day.

Courtesy of Brown University

Sovijja Pou, a senior at Brown University, will compete next week as one of two swimmers representing Cambodia. His event, the 100-meter freestyle, is scheduled for Tuesday.

Ian Donnis

Gov. Gina Raimondo is expected to sign a series of bills Wednesday that impact schools and children, including a bill requiring 20 minutes of recess per day in elementary schools.

Also on the list, a bill requiring public reporting on the deaths of children in the foster care system, dyslexia screenings in elementary schools, and a bill that authorizes the creation of a "bi-literacy" seal for bilingual high school graduates.

RIPR FILE

Education advocates say there’s a lot to like about the state’s new budget for public schools. That includes new funding for special education and early childhood education. But some advocates are concerned about the future of charter schools.

For more on that, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison spoke to Daniela Fairchild from the Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now, a group that advocates for charter schools and higher standards for all schools, among other issues.

Elisabeth Harrison

After announcing on Friday that 10th and 11th graders would be exempt from the state's annual standardized testing, education officials walked back the policy. The state Department of Education now says all students will have to take at least one standardized math test during high school, in either Algebra I, Algebra II or Geometry.

The state is reducing requirements for PARCC, the annual state test of English and Mathematics, in the hope that more students will take PSAT and SAT exams, which increases the likelihood of applying to college. 

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The Rhode Island Department of Education has announced a new testing policy that should come as welcome news for many high school students. Under the new rules, 10th and 11th graders no longer have to take annual standardized tests of English and Mathematics.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

There were winners and losers in the 2017 budget for education. School districts got a boost, with increases in state funding. But charter schools will see their tuition payments cut, in a move some advocates say threatens the future for some of Rhode Island’s charter schools.

Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Gina Raimondo has signed a bill requiring schools to contact child welfare authorities when they suspect sexual abuse of their employees. The bill also requires the state's child welfare office to investigate allegations of abuse in schools.

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