Meeting held to discuss education reform in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Hundreds of educators, policymakers, parents and students met Saturday to discuss ways to improve public education in Rhode Island.

The nonprofit Rhode Island Foundation said that a long-term education planning committee it convened shared its suggestions with the group, after studying public education for the past year. Some of the common suggestions involved engagement with students, families, educators and the community, and the need for clear, consistent roles and accountability across districts.

About 300 people gathered at the Rhode Island Convention Center to discuss education reform, using strategies developed by the 26-member committee.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Democratic Rep. Joseph McNamara and state Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green will be briefed on the results of the discussion. The committee's full report, with the ideas discussed Saturday, is expected to be released in January.

“Rhode Island must chart a course and stay the course on the way to creating a world-class public education system that prepares all students to succeed in life and contribute productively to the community,” Neil Steinberg, the foundation’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

The state took over the struggling Providence public school district last month. An independent report released in June found the district beleaguered with low test scores, crumbling infrastructure and widespread dysfunction.