Public education in Rhode Island
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Rhode Island
Public education in Rhode Island
School board elections portal
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards on July 1, 2010. Full implementation took place during the 2013-2014 academic year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states
- See also: Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Rhode Island compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Rhode Island as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic information for Rhode Island's K-12 public school system|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students||216||0.15%||0.42%|
|Two or more||3,789||2.65%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A majority of students in Rhode Island attend suburban schools. Approximately 86 percent of the state's students attend city or suburbban schools, compared to approximately 14 percent who attend rural or town schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire), Rhode Island has the smallest share of fourth and eighth grade students who scored at or above proficient in both math and reading.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Rhode Island was higher than the national average at 5.2 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 4.2 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Rhode Island
School choice options in Rhode Island include: charter schools, a school choice tax incentive program and an inter-district open enrollment policy. In addition, about 16.27 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and an estimated 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Rhode Island state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 14.2 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. As a share of the budget, this is down 1.30 percentage points, or 8.4 percent, from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 15.5 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Rhode Island totaled approximately $2.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Rhode Island and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Source: National Center for Education Statistics|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Rhode Island totaled approximately $2.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Rhode Island and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Rhode Island, the average salary decreased by 1.3 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012 the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Rhode Island ranked fifth overall, or "strongest," which was in the first of five tiers.
The main unions related to the Rhode Island school system are the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers (RIFT) and NEA Rhode Island (NEARI), an affliate of the National Education Association (NEA). NEARI is the largest education association in the state. For the 2003 tax period NEARI had: $3.49 million in total revenue, $3.22 million in total expenses and $4.45 million in total assets. For the same period, RIFT had: $1.96 million in total revenue, $1.81 million in total expenses and $727,960 in total assets.
List of local Rhode Island school unions:
- Rhode Island Federation of Teachers
- NEA Rhode Island
- Providence Teachers Union
- East Providence Education Association
- American Federation Of Teachers (AFT) Cranston
- Warwick Teachers Union
- AFT Pawtucket
- AFT Coventry
- Woonsocket Teachers' Guild
- AFT Lincoln
- See also: Rhode Island government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Rhode Island Association of School Committees.
Rhode Island maintains a Transparency Portal, which includes financial records and personnel statements for at least 15 government departments. The Department of Education provides information pertaining projects, teacher pensions, scholarships, loans and grants.
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Rhode Island received a score of 79.7, or a B- average in the "chance for success" category. This was above the national average. The state's highest score was in "school finance" at 86.5, or a B average. The lowest score was in "K-12 achievement" at 69.3, or a D+ average. Rhode Island had the lowest score in "K-12 achievement" when compared to neighboring states. The chart below displays the scores of Rhode Island and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Rhode Island||79.7 (B-)||69.3 (D+)||85.1 (B)||71.1 (C-)||86.5 (B)||78.6 (C+)|
|Connecticut||87.5 (B+)||72.4 (C-)||78.6 (C+)||70.8 (C-)||86.8 (B+)||78.6 (C+)|
|Massachusetts||91.4 (A-)||83.7 (B)||88.4 (B+)||78.7 (C+)||83.5 (B)||75.0 (C)|
|New Hampshire||88.0 (B+)||78.8 (C+)||76.0 (C)||63.9 (D)||81.4 (B-)||78.6 (C+)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
- See also: School board elections portal
Rhode Island contains several types of school districts. The most prevalent are regular school districts, which provide K-12 courses in a single municipality. Regional school districts operate K-12 schools across multiple municipalities. Rhode Island also contains state-operated schools, which operate branches throughout the state.
- See also: List of school districts in Rhode Island
|Enrollment, 2011-2012||Per-pupil spending, 2011-2012|
|1.) Providence Public Schools||1.) New Shoreham School District|
|2.) Cranston Public Schools||2.) Jamestown School District|
|3.) Warwick Public Schools||3.) Little Compton School District|
|4.) Pawtucket School District||4.) Newport School District|
|5.) Woonsocket School District||5.) Exeter-West Greenwich Regional School District|
|6.) East Providence School District||6.) Narragansett School District|
|7.) Coventry School District||7.) Central Falls School District|
|8.) Cumberland School District||8.) Westerly School District|
|9.) North Kingstown School District||9.) South Kingstown School District|
|10.) Bristol Warren Regional School District||10.) Johnston School District|
School board composition
Rhode Island school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to school committees by mayors and city councils. School board elections typically select board members on an at-large basis, allowing all residents living in the school district to vote for any board candidates on the ballot.
School boards can consists of five, seven or nine members. Board members serve four-year terms, which are often staggered every two years.
Rhode Island does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.
No top enrollment districts in Rhode Island are scheduled to hold elections in 2015.
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Rhode Island, a person must be:
- 18 years of age or older
- A resident of the school district at the time of the election
Candidates file their Declarations of Candidacy with the local board of canvassers. Each candidate must also file nomination papers with a minimum number of valid signatures as determined by the local board.
State law requires school board candidates to file campaign finance reports with the Rhode Island State Board of Elections. Two reports are required prior to primary elections and general elections and candidates also file one post-election report per election.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Rhode Island Capital Bonds for Higher Education Question, Question 2 (2010)
- Rhode Island Higher Education Bonds, Question 4 (2000)
- Rhode Island Higher Education Bonds Question, Question 3 (2012)
- Rhode Island Higher Education Facilities Bonds, Question 4 (2014)
- Rhode Island Question 2, Higher Education Facilities Bonds (1998)
- Rhode Island Question 4, Higher Education Bonds Act (2006)
- Rhode Island Question 4, School Bonds (2004)
- Rhode Island Question 5, Higher Education Residence Hall Bonds (2004)
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Rhode Island + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Rhode Island state budget and finances
- Rhode Island Department of Education
- List of school districts in Rhode Island
- School choice in Rhode Island
- Charter schools in Rhode Island
- Rhode Island
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Rhode Island Department of Education, "Inside RIDE," accessed June 4, 2014
- Rhode Island Department of Education, "Board of Education," accessed June 4, 2014
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
- Rhode Island Department of Education, "Instruction and Assessment," accessed June 17, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out) (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, " How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "NEA Rhode Island," accessed September 16, 2009
- Center for Union Facts, "Rhode Island Federation of Teachers," accessed September 16, 2009
- Center for Union Facts, "State of Rhode Island," accessed September 16, 2009 (dead link) (dead link)
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- Rhode Island Department of Education, "School Districts," accessed July 10, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
- Rhode Island Department of Education, "Infoworks," accessed July 11, 2014
- Rhode Island Association of School Committees, "Guidelines for School Committee Members," accessed July 10, 2014
- Rhode Island Secretary of State, "Rhode Island How to Run for Office 2014," accessed July 9, 2014
State of Rhode Island
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