The latest round of test scores come out today for students in Rhode Island public schools. The annual exam known as the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, covers reading, writing and math.  The results are closely watched by education advocates and policy-makers. One of them is Elizabeth Burke-Bryant from Rhode Island Kids Count.

Another week passes with the usual talk from the Rhode Island political and business elite on economic development. RIPR political  analyst Scott MacKay says its time for some changes in the way Rhode Islanders view our state and ourselves.

A bill to extend binding arbitration to teacher contracts -- which last hit the House floor during the 2011 legislative session -- is coming back to the Statehouse.

Binding arbitration legislation sponsored by state Representative Anastasia Williams (D-Providence) is slated for a House Labor Committee hearing Tuesday (following the House session, or about 4:30/5 p.m.) in Room 201. A vote is not expected to take place following the hearing.

The Providence Journal is losing its excellent education reporter, Jennifer Jordan, who's leaving for a job at an education and economic mobility advocacy group.

Jordan writes in an email to friends and colleagues that she will be a senior writer at Opportunity Nation, a Boston-based coalition of non-profits. The organization's website describes its focus as expanding opportunities for residents of low-income neighborhoods, and fighting the "zip code is destiny" mentality.

State Senator Harold Metts joins us for our Bonus Q+A segment to talk about education policy, disproportionately high unemployment for minorities, and what it's like to be racially profiled while serving in the General Assembly.

Ian Donnis

State Senator Harold Metts (D-Providence) joins the Roundtable this week as we discuss same-sex marriage, efforts to better re-integrate offenders once they leave prison, and new appointees to the state Board of Education.

Ian Donnis

A legislative committee on Wednesday approved four nominees for a combined board overseeing K-through-12 and higher education. But critics still question whether the merged education board is a good idea.

A stream of witnesses touted the commitment to public education of the four nominees. The Senate Education Committee approved each of them by at least 8 of 10 votes.

The Senate Education Committee holds hearings today on nominees for a new State Board of Education. The picks from Governor Lincoln Chafee include teachers' union president Larry Purtill and Colleen Callahan, also a teachers’ union leader, and a member of the former Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education.

State lawmakers dissolved the Board of Regents along with the board overseeing colleges and universities to create a new combined board of education. The move was aimed at improving coordination between higher education and K-12 schools.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jan 31, 2013

Heavy winds, heavy rain, and warmer than usual temperatures.  We have an interesting start to  the day.  State education officials are defending standardized test scores as a requirement for high school diplomas. These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

State education officials are defending standardized testing as a graduation requirement starting with the class of 2014. Students opposing so-called "high stakes testing" staged a protest yesterday at the Statehouse.

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist responded by saying her goal is to make sure students finish high school with the right skills for college or a career. If the testing rule took effect this year, 44 percent of seniors would be at risk for not graduating.

Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi
Elisabeth Harrison

Thursday we heard the story of a Providence high school teacher, who ended up teaching a physics class even though her expertise is in history. Providence school officials now say they have hired a physics teacher to takeover the class next week. I asked Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi to explain why the district allowed a history teacher to substitute in a high school physics class.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Come Tuesday, January 29th, students at Alvarez High School in Providence will have a new physics teacher. You may remember the students went to The Providence Journal last month to complain that instead of having a physics teacher, a history teacher had been teaching their class.

State officials to review school safety

Jan 22, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) The Rhode Island State Senate is holding a hearing Tuesday afternoon on School Safety in the state.    In attendance will be state public safety and emergency preparedness officials along with Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

This hearing follows the fatal shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut last month.  26 students and staff were killed at the school.  In addition the gunman killed his mother and himself.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Barrington High School students and faculty are raising money to help a high school on Staten Island in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. So far, they’ve raised thousands of dollars.

A new program at the Providence After School Alliance (PASA) pairs high school students with middle schoolers, on the theory that a mentoring relationship with an older student might discourage dropping out.

PASA organizers say they are focusing on 8th graders, who often face a tough road when they transition from middle school into high school. Just 66 percent of Providence students graduate from high school within four years.