Rhode Island is the smallest in size and second most densely populated state in the United States. Over half of the state’s 143,000 pre-K–12 public school students attend schools in large suburban areas and almost a third go to school in high-need, urban areas. More than 40 percent of Rhode Island students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and one-third identify as Hispanic, black, Asian Pacific/Islander, Native American, or multi-racial. Over the past decade, public school enrollment has declined by nearly 10 percent.
In 2010, Rhode Island was awarded a four-year, $75 million Race to the Top Grant from the US Department of Education to fund projects focused on educator evaluation, standards and curriculum, instructional improvement, human capital development, and school transformation and innovation. Half of the grant money is being used at the state level, and half is going directly to districts. REL-NEI is working with state educators and policymakers on these reforms through several research alliances, including:
- Urban School Improvement Alliance
- English Language Learners Alliance
- Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance
- Early Childhood Education Research Alliance
Email State Liaison Leslie Hergert.