Archive for the ‘ Education ’ Category

filed under: Education | Film

‘American Promise’ At Cable Car

10AM ON 06/12/2013
BY Daily Dose

American Promise A ‘Q&A’ with “American Promise” directors Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson follows the Friday screening at 7pm and the Saturday noon and 6pm screenings at the Cable Car Cinema.

A documentary 13 years in the making, American Promise provides a rare look into the lives of two middle class Black families as they navigate the ups and downs of parenting and educating their sons. Our goal is to empower boys, their parents and educators and help close the black male achievement gap.

Running time 140 minutes, not rated. Through Thursday, December 12, NYT review.

“American Promise” starts Friday, December 6, Cable Car Cinema, 204 South Main Street

filed under: Education | Transportation

Schoolbus Mess — Meeting @JCC

5PM ON 16/09/2013
BY jim almo

JCC (9.17) There must be a better way. Concerned parents and families are coming together Tuesday evening to air complaints and find solutions to this year’s unprecedented bus problems.

By now, most parents of Providence school children (public and private) are aware of the fiasco that is this year’s bussing system.

Schools are getting out at staggered times on Fridays to save the city of Providence money on bussing. While running fewer busses seems like it could be a good way to save money, the school system has so far not been able to successfully carry out this idea.

There are a variety of potentially dangerous situations that continue to be encountered: Drivers do not know the routes, kids are getting out at the wrong stops, rides home are lasting upwards of three hours, there are not always bus monitors, and the busses are overcrowded.

There is a public meeting being held Tuesday evening at the Jewish Community Center of Elmgrove Avenue (near Nathan Bishop Middle School) for parents, with the intent of helping improve this situation.

Meeting 7:30pm to 8:30pm, Tuesday, September 17, Jewish Community Center, 401 Elmgrove Avenue, Facebook event page

filed under: Education | Science

Money Dollars Headed Our Way

6PM ON 13/03/2013
BY Beth Comery

Targeted Happy news for Providence for once — infusion of cash coming our way.

First: Nabsys, a technology company working on “advances in life sciences and healthcare through strategic deployment of a novel positional sequencing platform with broad applicability for DNA analysis” will get an infusion of cash from three venture capital firms. According to today’s ProJo,

The investment, to be announced Wednesday, almost doubles — to $41 million — the total raised by Nabsys since its founding in 2005. Dr. Barrett W. Bready will remain president and CEO of the company, located in the city’s Knowledge District. Nabsys expects this latest infusion of cash will help it double in size over the next year — from 50 employees to 100, most of whom will work in Providence, Bready said.

Second: Providence has taken the grand prize and $5 million in the Mayors Challenge, a contest conducted by Bloomberg Philanthropies open to mayors with innovative ideas for their cities. According to the New York Times, Mayor Taveras won with his plan for improving childhood literacy.

The children who participate in the program would wear a small device called a digital language processor that would record their daily interactions with adults. Those would then be converted into audio files containing the day’s adult word count and the number of conversational turns. That data would be used to help parents in monthly coaching sessions improve the quality of their conversations to improve their children’s vocabulary.

O-kaaaaay. I guess. I’m assuming this software will correct for words like “get the hell out of here” and “just like your father.” Would it be too much to hope that the company that makes those processors is also in Providence? Four other cities won $1 million for their projects. Good work by Mayor Taveras and his team.

(Positional sequencing image from Nabsys, nano-pushpin sold separately.)

filed under: Education | Science

Need Science Teachers? Waive The Education Courses

1PM ON 27/12/2012
BY Beth Comery

Richard Feynman The Providence Journal reports that Rhode Island schools are facing a shortage of science teachers (12.26.12).

“Fifteen years ago, I would have had 20 students applying to become secondary science teachers,” says Paul Tiskus, chairman of the education studies department at Rhode Island College, which trains the majority of the state’s teachers. “Last year, we had four. This year, we have six.”

Here’s one possible way of getting science grads interested in teaching: Waive the education courses required for certification. No college student casually backs into organic chemistry or particle physics or microbiology. People study science because they love it and they have the sort of mind that enjoys rigorous scholastic inquiry. Scientists like collecting and analyzing precise data, testing hypotheses, comparing results with other scientists; we can not expect these same people to devote months and months of their lives reading about the philosophy of early childhood and all the squishy studies and theories (cloaked in that infamous soft-science edubabble) that are required for teaching certification. It is torture and they will stay away in droves.

The RI Department of Education Office of Educator Quality and Certification offers ‘Transcript Analysis’ as one path to teaching ‘Secondary Grades Physics’ whereby a person with science credentials could get certified, but they will still have to complete, “Not less than 18 semester hours of course work to include work in each of the following areas: Adolescent Psychology, Secondary Methods, Measurements and Evaluation, Identification of and Service to Special Needs Students, Teaching of Reading in the Content Area, and [the dreaded] Foundations of Education.” Each?! (That last one alone will send any sane person screaming into the night.)

Try something like this: Create an intensive two-week program with the first week devoted to classroom management, curriculum planning and filling out lesson plans. The second week should be devoted to performing labs. Then into the classroom with supervision until they are confident. Could the results be any worse than the situation now?

For the last four months students at Alvarez High School have been taught physics by a social studies instructor who admits she knows nothing about physics. The Providence Superintendent of Schools Susan Lusi responded to this report, “At least we have a good teacher in the classroom.”

filed under: Education | Fundraisers

Learning Community Fundraiser

3PM ON 02/05/2012
BY Daily Dose

get smart (5.4) Head down to the Roots Café for the Get Smart! fundraiser,

Join the Learning Community for an evening of classic cocktails, live music and a few smart surprises.  Get your secret agent on with a night out in support of one of Rhode Island’s most innovative public schools.

Hors d’oeuvres, a groovy cash bar and live music. The silent auction includes a chance to have comedian Eugene Mirman record your voicemail greeting.

Free valet parking. Tickets $50.

The Learning Community is a public charter school that serves Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls.

6pm to 9pm, Friday, May 4, Roots Café, 276 Westminster Street

filed under: Education | Sports

Welcome Class of 2015!

2PM ON 03/09/2011
BY Daily Dose

brown bear cookie tin They’re ba-a-a-a-ck. The Providence Daily Dose is happy to see all the incoming freshmen and older students returning to town. Today was move-in day over at Brown University; classes start Wednesday. RISD students move in Saturday, September 10, and Providence College students are already settled in. Give wide berth to the moving vans; the driver may not be familiar with the neighborhood — or the van — and signage is sometimes missing.

Fun news. There will be another night football game this year at the Brown Stadium on Elmgrove Avenue — the Brown Bears take on the URI Rams at 6pm, Saturday, October 1st. Last year’s night game against Harvard drew over 17,000 fans. The stadium seats 20,000. Seems like this one might sell out. Great piece about the Brown University night football program by Keith Andrade in the September East Side Monthly.

filed under: Education | Music

Bell Street Concert Sunday — Help Send CMW Kids To Music Camp

10AM ON 30/03/2011
BY Beth Comery

Music Works The annual Fred Kelley Memorial Concert takes place this Sunday, April 3rd, at the Bell Street Chapel. Featured musicians will be Jesse Holstein on violin, Heath Marlow on cello, and Jeff Louie on piano, performing works by Franz Schubert, including the Rondo in B Minor for Violin and Piano and the Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major.

Donations are gratefully accepted and will support the Fred Kelley Memorial Scholarship Fund and provide opportunities for Community MusicWorks students to attend summer music camps. Read more about the programs at Community MusicWorks.

3pm, Sunday, April 3, Bell Street Chapel, 5 Bell Street (at Broadway), rsvp at 861.5650

filed under: Economic crisis | Education

Rally To Support Providence Teachers — City Hall

8AM ON 02/03/2011
BY Daily Dose

providence city hall From Ocean State Action,

Join us at City Hall to stand in solidarity with the 1,926 Providence teachers who have been unfairly fired!  The Providence Teachers Union is calling upon Mayor Taveras to rescind these unjust terminations.

Teachers Rally, 4:30pm to 7:30pm, Wednesday, City Hall steps, Kennedy Plaza, (fb)

filed under: Education | scams

“I’m Thinking Of Going To Law School”

10AM ON 11/01/2011
BY Beth Comery

career servicesIf you ever ever hear a friend or relative say these words slap them hard across the face three times, and then make them read this recent New York Times article, because that person should not be going to law school. There are no jobs out there. David Segal (not our guy but that other, Bizarro world, David Segal) takes to task the ginned-up and misleading employment statistics promulgated in the U.S News and World Report annual rankings, and the law schools who continue to accept students who have no business going into such enormous debt with such dim prospects.

It is an open secret, Professor Henderson [William Henderson, Indiana University] and others say, that schools finesse survey information in dozens of ways. And the survey’s guidelines, which are established not by U.S. News but by the American Bar Association, in conjunction with an organization called the National Association for Law Placement, all but invite trimming.

A law grad, for instance, counts as “employed after nine months” even if he or she has a job that doesn’t require a law degree. Waiting tables at Applebee’s? You’re employed. Stocking aisles at Home Depot? You’re working, too.

It hardly needs repeating that student loans will not be dischargeable in bankruptcy court. The article includes several links to “Disgruntled J.D.” blogs. Pictured here is the bustling career services office from the RWU School of Law financial aid page.

filed under: Activism | Education

Why Winter Is A Nightmare For Providence Youth — How You Can Help

12AM ON 24/12/2010

Remember being a kid and jumping for joy when you saw the first snowflake of the season? The thrill of seeing beauty fall from the sky, the hope for snow days, and the desire to drop down and make snow angels returns to many this time of year. But for most of Providence youth, snow brings on the feeling of dread not joy.

The dread and disgust comes from the thought of walking miles to school in the frigid New England temperatures. Wet shoes, cold ears and frost bitten fingers are not the way most of us want to spend our mornings day after day, however, for many Providence high school students, this is the reality every winter.

Currently in the city of Providence, high school students who live within 3 miles of their school are not provided transportation and are expected to walk, get a ride, or in the case for most students, pay their own bus fare.

more »

filed under: Education | Good Ideas

How To Get Your Kids Into A Good School

1PM ON 28/11/2010
BY Beth Comery

xyzblocksIt’s never too early to get them on the right track. Fred & Friends is the very cool Cumberland operation you have never heard of — of whom you have never heard? oh screw it — primarily because they are a wholesale outfit. Fred explains his motivating inspiration under “Who Am We?”.

Numb from the avalanche of cutesy picture frames, the reek of bayberry, floor mats in your choice of dog breed. I feel your interior ennui, but what’s more. . . I’ve done something about it.

Check out their catalog and if something catches your eye like these awesome XYZ Blocks there is info for buying online or a local storefinder (although any individual store may not have the exact item you desire, and I think this list may need updating). Fred, open your own store already!

filed under: Education | Good Ideas

Education Secretary Duncan Takes On Master’s Bonus Pay

8PM ON 21/11/2010
BY Beth Comery

artist cornelia parker Speaking to a presumably receptive audience at the American Enterprise Institute about how best to deploy dwindling education resources, Education Secretary Arne Duncan suggested that “master’s-degree bonuses [for teachers] are an example of something that doesn’t work.” More than a decade of research shows that money spent on these bonuses has little impact on student performance. But how can that be?

People outside the field of education might assume that teachers with advanced degrees must necessarily bring more to their classrooms — and if these degrees were in the teachers’ subject area, that might be true — but as noted in the Huffington Post,

Ninety percent of teachers’ masters degrees are in education, not subjects such as English or math, according to a study by Marguerite Roza and Raegen Miller for the Center on Reinventing Education at the University of Washington.

Their colleague, research professor Dan Goldhaber, explained that that research dating back to a study he did in 1997 has shown that students of teachers with master’s degrees show no better progress in student achievement than their peers taught by teachers without advanced degrees.

As academic rigor goes, education courses are notoriously lightweight, and some of the fallout from these dismal programs can never be measured. Untold numbers of aspiring teachers soon come to learn that courses in education are almost completely devoid of anything resembling legitimate scholastic inquiry. We will never know how many potentially inspiring teachers ran screaming into the night trying to make sense of the meaningless edu-babble, and endless graphs and pie charts. For college grads with degrees in history or science or math — lovers of knowledge, information, facts, logic —  sitting through an education lecture is torture.

Bill Gates has taken up the cause to end the system of master’s bonus pay as well. He estimates his home state of Washington spends more than $300 million a year “that doesn’t help kids.”

(image by cornelia parker from 2005 exhibit ‘bye bye blackboard’)

filed under: Education |

Ockham and Central Falls

9PM ON 13/10/2010
BY Dave Segal’s sad, but why is it at all surprising that teachers in Central Falls — subject to a (temporary) mass firing last school year — feel detached from their work and are looking for jobs elsewhere?

You really didn’t need to get too deep into the weeds to worry that the firings at CF made little sense and would only exacerbate problems in the district.  How was CF going to attract and retain teachers if it was understood that they could be fired, en masse, regardless of their individual performance?  Why would a great upstart young teacher with lots of options — entertaining offers from, say, Providence, Boston, and CF — choose to teach in CF, with a precedent of firing teachers without even concern for how good they were.  (Teachers who’d recently been evaluated, and none of whom were even in corrective action plans.)

At least in places like Washington, DC, where restructurings have become part of the rhythm of the school year, teachers keep their jobs when their school gets restructured — they’re just moved to other schools in the given district.  In a one-school town like CF, that’s just impossible.

Holistic evaluations make sense — in DC there’s a teacher evaluation program that operates separately from determinations about school closures — but never does it make sense to fire teachers because of factors beyond their control.  (And never does it make sense to be shocked at inequitable education outcomes in a country with such deep class divides.)

The firings, whether a temporary negotiating strategy or fully enacted, were going to be disruptive.  And now the families of CF must contend with the consequences.

filed under: Education | Local Media

Dictionaries Needed

8AM ON 26/08/2010
BY Beth Comery


The ‘Race to the Top’ $75 million jackpot was announced on Tuesday to great fanfare. The Channel 10 graphics department (read: intern) helped illustrate just how urgently these funds are needed.

filed under: Education |

Rhode Island Is Ready: Press Conf And Rally For Funding Formula Tuesday

12AM ON 11/05/2010
BY Dave Segal

Rhode Island is ReadyThe Rhode Island is Ready coalition will be holding a rally and press conference in support of a fair school funding formula tomorrow, Tuesday, from 2:30-4:30, with the press conference at 3:15.  It’ll be based in and around the State Room, on the second floor of the State House:


We want adequate State funding to support all Rhode Island’s public schools, and we seek the equitable distribution of those State education dollars among our 36 school districts using a fair, objective and predictable funding formula in order to help ensure that every child in Rhode Island has access to a quality public education.

What we mean by adequate funding is that Rhode Island needs to increase its share of the cost of public education over time, as the State budget improves, from the current 36% of the total cost of education, toward a 50% share that is the national norm. (Massachusetts’ State share is nearly 48%. Rhode Island’s 36% share is the 7th lowest State share in the nation.)

What we mean by equitable funding is that State education dollars should be allocated to districts based on the number of students enrolled, each student’s needs, and the ability of each district to raise local funds, ensuring that districts with the least local resources receive a greater proportion of state support to ensure an adequate education for every child in Rhode Island, regardless of town of residence.

Rhode Island is Ready applauds the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and Commissioner Deborah Gist for their vigorous advocacy for, and research and development of, a funding formula. Their formula proposal, as sponsored by Rep. Steven Costantino (D-Providence) in bill H8094, has a number of effective elements that we support.

Rhode Island is Ready also thanks Rep. Edie Ajello (D-Providence) for her many years of leadership on the fair funding formula issue in the General Assembly. Her bill H7555 also contains a number of effective elements that we support.

We urge the Rhode Island General Assembly to enact a funding formula bill this session that takes the best elements from both of these bills, and includes a commitment to increasing the State share of education costs to 45 -50% over time as the State budget improves.

filed under: Education |

Funding Formula, Please?

7AM ON 31/03/2010
BY Dave Segal rejection of our Race To The Top application should serve as a wake up call to Rhode Island’s politicians: We need a funding formula RIGHT NOW!

The overwhelming majority of our failings, per the DOE measurements, can be chalked up to our inadequate and capricious investments in education, particularly in our urban communities.

We scored 419 out of 500 possible points, 8th-best in the nation, and as the Projo notes, we lost points in a handful of key areas, including:

-Lack of a funding formula cost us 5.8 points in its own right.

-”Inadequate evidence of the state’s capacity to put in place and sustain proposed plans” cost us 6.2 points.

-The achievement gaps between the poor and wealthy, and between non-white and white, cost us 6.2 points. (We are one of the 2 or 3 states that provide the least amount of support to our districts generally, and we don’t base our funding levels on actualy need of districts, exacerbating achievement differentials.)

-And lack of support from the states’ unions — which have been the strongest advocates for a funding formula, and consistently shunned in said efforts — cost us 14 points.

Our standing in ALL of these categories would be vastly improved were we to join the other 49 states in adopting a fair funding formula, that provided sufficient funds to urban districts, predictability of funding to all districts, and brought the unions into the fold after their decade of so of hard work on this issue.



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