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Week in review

September 30, 2011

It’s been quite a week for education in the Ocean State!  Here are a few highlights:

  • The Board of Governors for Higher Education voted to extend in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. The policy applies only to students who graduate from local high schools and who attend high school for at least three years in the state. The students also have to take steps to regularize their immigration status as soon as possible. Immigrant advocates are cheering, but opponents are already calling for a stop to the policy. The Rhode Island Tea Party has called for state lawmakers to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to subsidize college tuition for illegal immigrants.


  • Governor Lincoln Chafee visited Amistad Academy, the flagship school in the Achievement First charter network. The group had hoped open schools in Cranston, but opposition from some parents, teachers and school committee members led the Board of Education to reject the proposal. Chafee has recommended that Achievement First submit a second application for schools in Providence. The charter operator has yet to confirm whether it plans to follow Chafee’s advice.


  • Science scores showed slight improvement on the latest round of NECAP testing. Roughly one in four students scored at grade level or better, according to the State Department of Education. 43 percent of 4th graders achieved proficiency, while about a quarter of 8th graders and 11th graders achieved proficiency. The biggest improvement was in the 11th grade where the number who reached proficiency rose by 9 percentage points. East Greenwich High School was the highest performing high school with 60 percent of its students reaching proficiency or better in science. Minority students, however, continue to lag behind their peers. Just 8 percent of black 8th graders and 6.5 percent of Hispanic 8th graders achieved proficiency in science compared to nearly 33.5 percent of their white classmates.


  • And Brown students staged a protest against the potential return of the Military Officer Training Corps to Brown University. ROTC has not has a presence at Brown since the late 1960’s, but a number of schools are re-thinking their ROTC policies following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Students who organized the protest say they do not think the military’s stance on transgendered service members is compatible with Brown University’s policies. Outgoing Brown President Ruth Simmons is considering a report from a university committee, which recommends approaching the military about re-establishing ties.

 Looking ahead to next week:

  • NECAP testing in English, Writing and Math begins on Monday. Tune in to Morning Edition to hear what RI’s 2011 Teacher of The Year Shannon Donovan thinks about standardized testing, and how she believes it has affected classrooms and students at Scituate High School.
  • Providence schools begin classes two hours late on Monday. Why? City officials say they are concerned about traffic congestion from a motivational conference expected to draw thousands.
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