deborah gist

Report: RI among best in US for ed ‘policy environment’

March 19th, 2014 at 6:13 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The nonprofit education advocacy group founded by controversial school reformer Michelle Rhee has ranked Rhode Island among the best states in the country for implementing policies it believes can improve student performance for the second consecutive year.

In its annual “State Policy Report Card” released this month, Sacramento, Calif-based StudentsFirst ranked Rhode Island No. 4 in the country for having the “right policy environment in place to best raise academic levels from where they are today.” The group gave the state a C+, behind only Louisiana, Florida and Indiana.

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NECAP still part of graduation requirements through 2016

March 12th, 2014 at 4:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

Rhode Island schools may be transitioning to a new standardized test, but the NECAP is here to stay through the class of 2016.

That means that if your child is currently in the 10th grade, he or she will still be required to score at least a 2 (out of 4) on the math and English sections of the NECAP in order to be eligible for a diploma. (NECAP is short for the New England Common Assessment Program.)

Those who fail to earn a qualifying score during their junior year have the opportunity to retake the exam twice during their senior year and are eligible to take several alternate tests in order to meet the requirement. Students are also required to complete course work, as well as performance assessments such as a portfolio or senior project, to prove they are qualified to receive a diploma.

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1,800 12th graders still at risk of not graduating

January 31st, 2014 at 12:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – At least 19% of the students who took the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) exam last year and are still enrolled in school remain at risk of not receiving a high school diploma, according to the latest round of test results released Friday.

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Gist delivers State of Education

January 30th, 2014 at 5:23 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – More than 70% of Rhode Island’s 12th graders scored at least “partially proficient” on the math and English sections of the state’s standardized test, leaving a significant number of students still at risk of not receiving a diploma, Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said Thursday.

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Study: Poor performance on NECAP math tied to low college attendance

January 13th, 2014 at 6:54 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The overwhelming majority of Rhode Island students who received the lowest possible score on the math section of the state’s standardized test as 11th graders in 2008 never reached the third semester of college, according to a report presented to the state Board of Education Monday.

The report, prepared by the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) and nonprofit ProvPlan, shows that 74% of the 3,926 students who scored a 1 out of a possible 4 on the math portion of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) test in 2008 failed to reach their sophomore year of college, and more than half never pursued a postsecondary education at all.

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Report: RI school spending high, but achievement lags behind rival states

January 9th, 2014 at 3:07 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island spends generously on public schools, but still lags far behind the rest of New England when it comes to student achievement, according to a report released Thursday by Education Week, the nation’s preeminent publication for education news.

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Report: 95% of teachers highly rated; administrators disagree

October 11th, 2013 at 1:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The vast majority of Rhode Island teachers received high marks on their mandatory educator evaluations last school year, yet more than two-thirds of administrators admitted they gave a teacher a higher rating than they believed was warranted, a new report shows.

All told, 95% of the state’s 14,260 public school teachers were rated “effective” or “highly effective” during the 2012-13 school year while fewer than 1% of educators were labeled “ineffective,” a rating that could trigger a loss of certification if the teacher does not improve over the course of several years, according to a report released by the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE).

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Parents, teachers decry NECAP graduation requirement at forum

October 1st, 2013 at 5:53 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – As thousands of students across the state prepare to take the NECAP exam, parents, educators and elected officials gathered Monday to again call for state officials to scrap the controversial graduation requirement that ties a high school diploma to performance on the standardized test.

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1000s of students never graduated, entered college after reaching 11th grade

August 27th, 2013 at 1:46 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Thousands of Rhode Island students who reached the 11th grade on time in 2008 didn’t complete high school or enroll in college, according to a study released to the R.I. Board of Education Monday.

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Mancuso: Ed board ‘not backing down’ from grad requirement

August 25th, 2013 at 8:23 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

The chairwoman of the R.I. Board of Education on Sunday said she wants the state to move forward with a controversial high school graduation requirement that ties a diploma to performance on a standardized test.

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State leaders could change education board again

August 15th, 2013 at 5:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s controversial new Board of Education may not be here to stay.

Less than 14 months after the General Assembly merged the state’s two education boards, the chairman of the House Finance Committee and the new board’s chairwoman say they are open to again separating the governance of elementary and secondary education from higher education.

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Judge orders Board of Education to discuss NECAP in public

August 6th, 2013 at 5:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the R.I. Board of Education to make part of an informational retreat scheduled for later this month open to the public or not discuss the matter at all.

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House, Senate oppose NECAP graduation requirement

July 3rd, 2013 at 5:42 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) –  Hours before wrapping up the legislative session, lawmakers overwhelmingly voiced their opposition to the controversial graduation mandate that requires students to show “partial proficiency” on the state’s New England Common Assessment Program test.

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RI undecided on applying for teacher evaluation waiver

June 25th, 2013 at 9:37 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island would be allowed to postpone a key component of its controversial teacher evaluation policy under a waiver plan introduced last week by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Groups file petition to end NECAP graduation requirement

June 24th, 2013 at 12:41 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – More than a dozen community groups on Monday formally asked the R.I. Board of Education to rescind the controversial policy that requires high school students to score “partially proficient” on the state’s standardized test.

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Watch Newsmakers: Education Commissioner Deborah Gist

June 16th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Gist: State officials visited troubled Birch school in 2012

June 14th, 2013 at 5:16 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said the state recommended that changes be made at the Birch Vocational School in Providence a year before a federal investigation found it was operating a so-called “sheltered workshop” for developmentally disabled students.

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• Related: State, city reach settlement over Birch School violations (June 13)


Controversial NECAP test will have cost RI $48M by 2017

June 14th, 2013 at 5:13 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – When Rhode Island stops paying for the New England Common Assessment Program test in 2017, it will have spent more than $48 million over the course of 14 years on the controversial exam that is now tied to a high school diploma, WPRI.com has learned.

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• Related: 40% of 11th-graders in RI in danger of not graduating (Feb. 14)


Gist highest paid ed. commissioner in New England

June 7th, 2013 at 2:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist was already the highest paid state education official in New England even before the Board of Education voted to extend her contract – which includes a 2% annual raise – by two years Thursday.

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Education board votes to extend Deborah Gist’s contract

June 7th, 2013 at 5:02 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – It will be two more years for embattled R.I. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

The R.I. Board of Education voted Thursday to allow Gist to continue guiding the state’s public schools until 2015, a deal that will throw her square into the middle of a Democratic primary for governor next year that is expected to be contentious.

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Obama’s education secretary Duncan urges RI to keep Gist

June 4th, 2013 at 4:09 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With the state Board of Education set to consider a new contract for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist this week, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday praised the reform efforts of the state’s top educator.

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• Related: Contract length, politics key issues in Gist renewal (May 23)


Thousands of RI students were ‘chronically absent’ last year

May 30th, 2013 at 2:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – At least 30% of the students at more than two dozen elementary, middle and high schools across the state were absent 18 days or more during the 2011-12 school year, according to a WPRI.com review of data provided by the Rhode Island Department of Education.

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Taveras opposes NECAP grad requirement

May 23rd, 2013 at 12:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With officials mulling a contract renewal for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is again questioning a high school graduation mandate that ties a diploma to the state’s standardized test.

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Contract length, politics, key issues in Gist renewal

May 23rd, 2013 at 5:51 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Wednesday reaffirmed his support for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, but stopped short of fully endorsing the school chief’s request for a three-year extension when her contract ends next month.

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Union poll finds little support for Deborah Gist

April 30th, 2013 at 2:58 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The overwhelming majority of Rhode Island’s public school teachers do not want Gov. Lincoln Chafee to extend Education Commissioner Deborah Gist’s contract, according to a poll released Tuesday by the state’s leading teachers unions.

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Gist won’t testify at D.C. test cheating hearing

April 17th, 2013 at 1:58 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Dan McGowan

R.I. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is not expected to testify in front of the Washington D.C. City Council during a public oversight hearing on school testing integrity, according to a spokesman for Education Committee Chairman David Catania.

“We have not requested Ms. Gist’s testimony,” Ben Young, Catania’s chief of staff, told WPRI.com.

The Thursday hearing was called to review a report that found teachers in 18 classrooms in 11 D.C. schools may have cheated on standardized tests during the 2011-12 school year. The committee will also discuss cheating allegations that date back to 2008 when controversial education reformer Michelle Rhee served as chancellor of D.C. schools and Gist served as the District’s superintendent of education. (more…)


Boston Globe says RI should drop NECAP test requirement

April 11th, 2013 at 10:12 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

In an editorial titled “Flunking the test” published Thursday, The Boston Globe’s editorial board came out against the R.I. Department of Education’s new requirement that students pass the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) to get their diplomas:

The fundamental problem … is that the test wasn’t originally designed to be a graduation requirement and isn’t suited for that purpose. Schools need more high standards and accountability, and the NECAP was designed not to evaluate individual students’ proficiency, but to rank the quality of the schools they attend. Unlike tests meant primarily for student assessment, such as the MCAS in Massachusetts, the NECAP expects a certain portion of test-takers to fail. Research suggests that percentage will likely come from low-income, working-class neighborhoods — the students who are least likely to return for a fifth year of high school, even if skipping it means going without a diploma.

As a side note, Aaron Regunberg’s Providence Student Union has done an impressive job using savvy public relations to keep this issue on the radar and put pressure on Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

Update: Regunberg writes in to say: “I want to make clear that, while I help coordinate and do some of the organizational and media outreach, PSU is a youth-led organization.” He’s “an organizer/coordinator.”

• Related: RI Board of Education Chairwoman Mancuso discuss NECAP on Newsmakers (April 7)


Bill would keep teacher evaluations confidential

April 10th, 2013 at 2:22 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A pair of bills at the R.I. State House would change the state’s public records law to ensure teacher evaluations would not be made public.

The bill would change the state’s Access to Public Records Act exempting “[a]ny individually identifiable evaluations of public school teachers and administrators” from public disclosure. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Hanna Gallo, D-Cranston, and Rep. Jeremiah O’Grady, D-Lincoln, in the House.

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CCRI students spent $5.4M on remedial courses that carry no college credit

April 5th, 2013 at 3:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Students at the Community College of Rhode Island spent millions of dollars on remedial courses that do not provide college credit during the 2012/13 school year, according to a WPRI.com review of data provided through a public records request.

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Watch Newsmakers: Education Commissioner Deborah Gist

February 17th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site