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DFER Rhode Island

From Our Blog

March 29, 2012


Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives began debate on its budget proposal for FY 2013, the upcoming fiscal year that begins October 1st. The debate resumes on the House floor today.

In Rhode Island:

• Almost 1,000 children will be eliminated from the Head Start program;

• Nearly 6,000 students with disabilities' costs will shift to states and districts as part of cuts to IDEA; and,

• Approximately 13,000 students from historically disadvantaged groups will have reduced or eliminated services due to Title I cuts.

Read more here.

Rhode Island Update: The Politics of Successful New Schools
July 20, 2011

Some good news from Rhode Island this week in today's Providence Journal which celebrates the early success of the flagship Rhode Island Mayoral Academies school in Blackstone Valley. The editorial, quoting State Commish Deborah Gist, notes how rare it is for any school in the state to have 100% of students showing proficiency or better on state exams.

Kudos to the teachers, parents, and students who pulled together to make this such a promising development in education reform.
The politics here are important: the state's Board of Regents is set to vote very soon on an application from Cranston Mayor Alan Fung to open the second "Mayoral Academy" serving students from Providence and Cranston. We've come a long way from the initial concept papers and the movement to create a climate in Rhode Island which would "open the drawbridge" to high quality school operators who had previously ignored the Ocean State because of all of the red tape and restrictions on education innovation.


Joe Williams on WPRO
February 11, 2011

On February 9th, DFER executive director Joe Williams spoke with Dan Yorke on NewsTalk 630 WPRO & 99.7 FM. CLICK HERE to listen to their discussion about the future of Rhode Island's Race to the Top grant and Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

DFER-RI: 'Thoughtful Pause' on Charters Jeopardizes Race to the Top Funding
January 27, 2011

DFER-Rhode Island called on Governor Chafee to abandon his call for a "thoughtful pause" and forge ahead with the expansion of charter schools as called for in the state's successful Race to the Top application. Continued delay in developing new public charter schools puts Rhode Island's $75 million Race to the Top Grant in serious jeopardy.

To read the press release, click here: Press Release - Thoughtful Pause.pdf

Click here to read the full letter to Governor Chafee, click here: Letter - Thoughtful Pause.pdf

Group urges Governor Chafee to support charter schools
January 27, 2011

By Jennifer D. Jordan
(From The Providence Journal, January 26, 2011)
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- For the second time in two days, an education advocacy group is appealing to Governor Chafee to push ahead with controversial school reforms, in this case the growth of public charter schools, an expansion the governor has made clear he does not support.
Joe Williams, the executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, hand-delivered a letter with his concerns to the governor's office Wednesday morning, said the organization's spokesman Bill Fischer.
"Democrats for Education Reform today called on Governor Lincoln Chafee to abandon his call to take a 'thoughtful pause' on the development of new charter schools," the statement said.
The promise to expand these alternative public schools was a key part of Rhode Island's successful Race to the Top application, which will bring $75 million to schools over the next four years.
Federal education officials have said that changing any part of the plan could jeopardize the entire grant.

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