deborah gist

Gist wants to keep job as RI education commissioner

November 24th, 2014 at 1:27 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Deborah Gist, who has served as Rhode Island’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education since 2009, is seeking to keep her job under incoming Gov. Gina Raimondo.

Read the rest of this story »


As term nears end, Gov. Chafee sees ‘progress’ on education

July 22nd, 2014 at 8:14 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Nearly two months after Lincoln Chafee launched his campaign for governor in 2010, he sat in the Central Falls High School auditorium and watched as the city’s school board called out the names of 93 teachers, specialists and guidance counselors. All of them were fired.

Chafee still recalls the tears shed by students as they watched their teachers lose their jobs and the angry union protesters who loudly opposed the board’s decision, one that made the one-square-mile city a national battleground over school reform on that February evening. He promised himself things would be different if he won the state’s top job.

Now, as he enters the final months of his one and only term as governor of Rhode Island, Chafee says he has put a halt to the “divisive labor warfare” he inherited thanks to compromises on both sides. And while a large achievement gap between poor and affluent students still exists, Chafee argues the investments he’s made in education have put the state on a path toward producing better outcomes.

Read the rest of this story »


NECAP, teacher eval bills to dominate final day of legislative session

June 20th, 2014 at 12:49 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Two bills that would dramatically change education policy in Rhode Island – and send shudders through the school reform community – remain in play heading into the final day of the legislative session.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said Thursday legislation that would place a moratorium on the use of standardized tests for the state’s high school graduation policy until 2017 and a bill to limit the frequency of teacher evaluations could still be voted on before lawmakers wrap up the session Friday evening.

Read the rest of this story »


Gist concerned RI has ‘lost our sense of urgency’ on education reform

May 30th, 2014 at 4:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said Friday she is concerned “we’ve lost our sense of urgency” when it comes to improving schools, but stopped short of placing the blame on local school districts or state lawmakers.

In her first interview since Providence granted more than 200 waivers to allow students who have not met the state goal on the NECAP exam to graduate and the House of Representatives approved a bill limiting teacher evaluations, Gist said she would be “really concerned as a state if we start to turn around from some of the progress we have made.”

Read the rest of this story »


Providence seeks to change high school grad requirements

May 27th, 2014 at 1:31 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With just 11 days until high school graduation ceremonies begin across the city, the Providence School Board is expected to amend its diploma policy Tuesday, part of a last ditch effort to help hundreds of students who haven’t achieved a qualifying score on the state’s standardized test complete high school.

The latest changes to the policy will provide a waiver to Providence students who have scored “equal to or higher than the lowest passing score of any other student that met the requirement by showing progress toward proficiency” that will allow them to graduate from high school, according to a draft copy of the new requirements obtained by WPRI.com.

Read the rest of this story »


Senate, House could end NECAP grad requirement

April 29th, 2014 at 3:03 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With less two than months before schools let out for summer, legislation that would halt the NECAP portion of the state’s high school graduation requirements is gaining momentum in the Senate.

The bill, which could be voted out of the Senate Education Committee as soon as next week, would block the use of standardized testing to determine whether a student should graduate until 2017, the first year the state will move to a different exam for its graduation requirements.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

(more…)


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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).

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »

 


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »

• 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.

Read the rest of this story »

• 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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »

• 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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »