education

RI Student Loan Authority may reduce payments for startups

August 15th, 2013 at 11:09 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Ruth Simon reports for The Wall Street Journal:

The rising mountain of student debt, recently closing in on $1.2 trillion, is forcing some entrepreneurs to abandon startup dreams and others … to radically reshape their business plans. [...]

At least one state has taken steps to alleviate the pressures. California this year enacted legislation that will reduce college costs for middle-class Californians who attend its public universities.

Similarly, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, a quasigovernmental nonprofit group, is looking at whether it is feasible to temporarily forbear or reduce payments for recent graduates who start a businesses or go to work for a new venture. The aim is to give recent graduates “the opportunity to try working for a startup or creating a startup instead of having to run off to Arizona and start working for Intel,” says Charles P. Kelley, RISLA executive director.

The R.I. Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is one of Rhode Island’s two quasi-public agencies that deal with student loans, along with the R.I. Higher Education Assistance Authority (RIHEAA). RISLA issues bonds to provide direct financing to students, while RIHEAA guaranteed loans under the pre-2010 federal student-loan program. Charles Kelley leads both agencies, and Treasurer Gina Raimondo serves on both boards.

As of June 2012, RISLA had $566 million in outstanding bonds and $913 million in outstanding student loans.

Update: For a critique of the WSJ article’s premise, read Jordan Weissmann on TheAtlantic.com.


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 »


Chafee withdraws Mancuso nomination for commissioner

July 30th, 2013 at 4:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Board of Education Chairwoman Eva Marie Mancuso will not serve as interim commissioner of higher education after all.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday he and Mancuso agreed to withdraw the nomination after good government groups questioned whether the appointment would violate a state policy that forbids officials from accepting an appointment or election that requires approval from the same board of which they are a member for one year.

Read the rest of this story »


Mancuso résumé lacks experience of most US college leaders

July 19th, 2013 at 1:11 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s controversial nominee to oversee Rhode Island’s public colleges is defending her qualifications for the high-profile job despite lacking the same background in education as most of her would-be peers nationally.

A WPRI.com analysis of the résumés of every higher education commissioner – or equivalent official – across the country shows the majority of officials at the helm in their respective states have spent most of their careers in the education field.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Watch Newsmakers with RI Education Board Chairwoman Eva Marie Mancuso (April 7)


Board seeking ethics waiver to give Mancuso $200K job

July 15th, 2013 at 11:44 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI)  – The R.I. Board of Education will seek a special waiver from the state Ethics Commission in order to appoint its chairwoman Eva Marie Mancuso to a $200,000-a-year job as the interim commissioner of higher education, Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s office said Monday.

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 »


10% of schools ranked low-performing; most in Providence

July 2nd, 2013 at 10:18 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The R.I. Department of Education on Tuesday unveiled a list of more than two dozen low-performing schools that will be targeted for intense interventions aimed at increasing student achievement levels over the next several years.

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)


City tried to fire Birch principal in April

June 12th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The high school principal at the center of a months-long federal investigation into the violation of disabled students’ civil rights was on the cusp of being fired in April before an outpouring of support saved his job.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Federal probe finds civil rights violated at Providence school (June 11)


Federal probe finds civil rights violated at Providence school

June 11th, 2013 at 7:56 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Providence school that caters to developmentally disabled students allegedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act for years by making students work manual labor for little or no pay and acting as a “pipeline” to a similar program once they graduated, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Read the rest of this story »


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 »


Harvard’s Ed. Magazine profiles Providence principal

May 28th, 2013 at 5:04 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

With education reform driving the news cycle in Rhode Island, Harvard’s Ed. Magazine takes a look at how one Providence elementary school principal is handling federal mandates set by the Obama administration.

The article profiles Pleasant View Elementary principal Dr. Gara Field, whose school is in its first year of a “transformation” model that requires additional minutes to be added to the school day; creates a demanding evaluation system for teachers; and gives more operational power to principals.

Lory Hough writes:

The school has added time to the school day (a requirement for all turnaround and transformation schools), including 70 additional minutes for teachers, which allows more time for prep, meetings, and teaching. Field also created “dream teams,” where teachers help one another. One example was to change the schedules for preK teachers. Initially, preK teachers came in late morning and taught just preK students. Now, they come in at 8 a.m. and help K–5 teachers until their younger students arrive. The result, Field says, is that there’s a different feeling in the building.

‘All the kids see the preK teachers in the hallways, and they’ve gotten to know those teachers,” she says. “It was a whole faculty investment. We’ve placed value in relationships. No significant learning occurs without significant relationships. Our faculty now comes early and stays late. We’re here with a shared purpose and a shared vision.’ (more…)


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 »


RI schools spent $600K on travel, food

May 9th, 2013 at 9:58 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -  Several Rhode Island school administrators spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on a trip to China, dining at high-end steakhouses and an in-state overnight staff retreat in 2012, according to a Target 12 review of school district travel data.

Read the rest of this story »


Top Taveras education advisor leaving City Hall

May 2nd, 2013 at 3:22 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Angela Romans, the top education advisor to Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, is leaving City Hall for a job with Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, WPRI.com has learned.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


Brown gets $44M to expand engineering school on College Hill

April 10th, 2013 at 12:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brown University has received $44 million as a down payment on construction of a new home for its three-year-old School of Engineering, the school announced Wednesday.

Read the rest of this story »

Related: Watch Newsmakers with Brown U. President Christina Paxson (Nov. 21)


Watch Newsmakers: RI Education Board Chairwoman Mancuso

April 7th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Taveras delivers keynote at prestigious education conference

April 5th, 2013 at 8:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Investing in education is the best way to spur economic development and build healthier neighborhoods and safer communities, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras told hundreds of school reformers from across the country Friday.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »