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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I promise to never spell “Del’s” wrong again for the rest of my life. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
The Rhode Island Foundation will provide $1 million in education grants over the next year to projects designed to improve the state’s struggling public schools, with a focus on raising standards, supporting educators, investing in students and fixing governance models.
Thursday’s funding announcement coincides with the foundation’s release of its long anticipated report on education in Rhode Island, titled “Chart a Course, Stay the Course.”
The report, prepared by a committee of stakeholders that have been meeting for more than a year, offers a theme that is familiar to anyone who follows education in the state: If you want to have a world-class school system like the one in Massachusetts, you have to establish a plan and stick to it.
Neil Steinberg, the foundation’s president and CEO, said the organization is willing to spend $1 million to support new programs that will help accomplish that goal. He said the foundation expects to award multiple grants, but he has no specific projects in mind.
While $1 million is hardly enough to fund every good idea for turning around schools in the state, Steinberg said he’s hopeful that individuals and organizations will be able to use foundation grants to leverage other money. For example, if a group of teachers have an idea for supporting English learners, they might be able to secure a national grant along with the money being provided by the foundation.
The challenges are real: While the state takeover of Providence schools has gulped up a lot of attention, 70 percent of students in grades three through eight across the state aren’t proficient in math, and the numbers aren’t much better in reading.
But Steinberg said he believes there’s a newfound urgency in place, thanks to a new education commissioner, a business community with renewed commitment to schools, and parents and teachers who are committed to turning things around.
NEED TO KNOW
Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
- Don’t look now but US Senator Amy Klobuchar seems to be gaining popularity in Rhode Island – at least among elected officials. With Joe Biden seemingly fading, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said Wednesday that they’re leaning toward the Minnesota Democrat.
- The guy who created JetBlue is set to launch the “world’s nicest airline” later this year – and it might fly out of Providence.
- My colleague Deirdre Fernandes reports the US Department of Education has opened investigations into whether Harvard and Yale universities failed to properly report hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign gifts and contracts.
- This is a story out of Boston City Hall, but the case caught the attention of anyone who works around heavily unionized workforces: A federal judge has tossed the convictions of two Walsh administration aides who were found guilty of extorting union jobs from organizers of the Boston Calling music festival.
- Do the Celtics really have a shot to make the NBA Finals this year? The Globe’s Chad Finn says yes.
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
- This is cool: A Brown University graduate who is now an astronaut will chat with students and community members today – from space.
- Governor Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Peter Neronha have called a press conference this afternoon to discuss gun safety legislation.
- The state’s Special Education Advisory Committee meets tonight at 6 p.m.
- If you’re interested in local news, the Solutions Journalism Network is hosting a conversation about it tonight at the United Way in Providence.
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