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NEW: ACLU, Advocacy Groups Battle RIDE Over RI NECAP Scores

Thursday, February 13, 2014

 

Speaking on behalf of a range of community groups that represent at-risk students, the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has criticized the Rhode Island Department of Education's (RIDE) enthusiastic response to the NECAP scores released Thursday.

Steven Brown, Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island, said, “When it comes to the most vulnerable students in Rhode Island, there is little to show for all the time, energy and money wasted on preparing students for the test, instead of truly teaching them. These statistics demonstrate yet again both the folly and the harm of RIDE’S testing mania, and belies the agency’s rosy view of things.”

Concern for Students at Risk

The advocacy groups claim that RIDE officials downplayed that Rhode Island students who have historically been most at risk of failing to graduate are still being underserved. With months to go in the school year, these groups worry that a large percentage of students from communities that face discrimination or structural hardships are still being left behind. 61% of seniors with Limited English Proficiency remain at risk of failing to receive a diploma, along with 37% of black and Hispanic seniors, 56% of those with special education needs, and 34% of those who qualify for the state's free or reduced price lunch program.

The conglomerate of social justice organizations speaking out against RIDE's take on the NECAP testing results included the R.I. Teachers of English Language Learners, the RI Disability Law Center, the NAACP Providence Branch, and R.I. Legal Services, in addition to the ACLU.  

See Statements BELOW: 

Nancy Cloud, on behalf of Rhode Island Teachers of English Language Learners: “Over 60% of seniors who are in the process of learning English are in danger of not graduating. As ELL specialists, we believe the only thing it convincingly shows is that the students could not read and understand the test items because our state persists on testing them in a language it knows they have not mastered. This testing practice is indefensible and runs contrary to the guidance of all of our professional measurement associations. We are not learning what English Language Learners know or don’t know; all we are learning is that they don’t know English, something we already knew when we identified them as ELL. We believe it’s time to take a hard look at the damage this testing requirement is inflicting on our students.”

Anne Mulready, supervising attorney with RI Disability Law Center: “With only four months left before graduation, 56% percent of students with disabilities in the Class of 2014 remain at risk of not getting a diploma. Tests like NECAP were supposed to help schools focus on at-risk groups like students with disabilities, and close achievement gaps between these students and their peers. Instead, students with disabilities remain unacceptably and disproportionately impacted by the use of this high-stakes testing graduation requirement.”

Jim Vincent of the NAACP: “The NAACP Providence Branch does not support using the NECAP exam as a graduation requirement and is extremely concerned that a whopping 37% of Black and Hispanic seniors may be denied diplomas this year!”

Veronika Kot, Rhode Island Legal Services Education Law Attorney: “The low- income youth who continue to be at risk of not graduating this late in the year are not expendable. They are not acceptable ‘collateral damage.’ They are real young people whose futures are now in serious jeopardy, and from the groups that are most at-risk and yet most likely to be shortchanged throughout their educational experience. They are now being penalized for systemic inequities, despite having persevered and fulfilled every other graduation requirement.”

Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island: “When it comes to the most vulnerable students in Rhode Island, there is little to show for all the time, energy and money wasted on preparing students for the test, instead of truly teaching them. These statistics demonstrate yet again both the folly and the harm of RIDE’S testing mania, and belies the agency’s rosy view of things.”

 

Related Slideshow: Rhode Island School Superintendent Salaries

Below are the salaries of school superintendents in Rhode Island, starting with the lowest paid. Data is for 2013 and was provided by the state Division of Municipal Finance. Where relevant, longevity pay is also listed. All school superintendents are listed except those in the independent school districts in Foster and Glocester. The combined Foster-Glocester district is included. In order to provide a more informed basis for comparing superintendents from one community to another, the annual student enrollment and total expenditures are also listed. (The data is for fiscal year 2012, the latest available from the state Department of Education.)

Prev Next

34. New Shoreham

Superintendent Robert Hicks

Salary: $45,280

District Profile

Student Body Size: 112

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $4,443,923

Note: Position is part-time.

Prev Next

33. Little Compton

Superintendent Kathryn M. Crowley

Salary: $63,500

District Profile

Student Body Size: 295

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $6,995,203

Note: Position is part-time.

Prev Next

32. Jamestown

Superintendent Marcia Lukon

Salary: $67,039

District Profile

Student Body Size: 481

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $12,049,735

Note: Position is part-time.

Prev Next

31. Johnston

Superintendent Bernard DiLullo, Jr.

Salary: $121,456

Longevity Pay: $2,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 2,917

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $50,452,203

Salary includes longevity pay.

Prev Next

30. Tiverton

Superintendent William J. Rearick

Salary: $125,032

District Profile

Student Body Size: 1,738

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $28,715,478

Prev Next

29. North Providence

Superintendent Melinda Smith

Salary: $127,600

District Profile

Student Body Size: 3,301

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $47,235,638

Prev Next

28. North Smithfield

Superintendent Stephen Lindberg

Salary: $129,854

District Profile

Student Body Size: 1,704

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $23,498,113

Prev Next

27. Portsmouth

Superintendent Lynn Krizic

Salary: $132,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 2,590

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $36,591,167

Prev Next

26. West Warwick

Superintendent Karen Tarasevich

Salary: $134,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 3,374

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $53,918,748

Prev Next

25. Exeter-West Greenwich

Superintendent James H. Erinakes II

Salary: $135,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 1,678

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $32,331,544

Prev Next

24. Narragansett

Superintendent Katherine E. Sipala

Salary: $138,485

District Profile

Student Body Size: 1,407

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $26,850,371

Prev Next

23. Burrillville

Superintendent Frank Pallotta

Salary: $139,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 2,418

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $31,681,821

Prev Next

22. Smithfield

Superintendent Robert O'Brien

Salary: $141,481

District Profile

Student Body Size: 2,349

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $34,311,788

Prev Next

21. Foster-Glocester

Superintendent Michael S. Barnes

Salary: $141,756

District Profile

Student Body Size: 1,226

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $18,267,711

Prev Next

20. Bristol-Warren

Superintendent Melinda Thies

Salary: $142,550

Longevity Pay: $2,550

District Profile

Student Body Size: 3,454

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $51,591,792

Prev Next

19. East Greenwich

Superintendent Victor Mercurio

Salary: $144,279

District Profile

Student Body Size: 2,323

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $32,975,952

Prev Next

18. East Providence

Superintendent Kim Mercer

Salary: $144,279

District Profile

Student Body Size: 5,338

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $77,242,920

Prev Next

17. Central Falls

Superintendent Frances Gallo

Salary: $144,900

District Profile

Student Body Size: 2,724

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $51,519,366

Prev Next

16. Coventry

Superintendent Michael Almeida

Salary: $145,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 4,970

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $67,620,141

Prev Next

15. Cranston

Superintendent Judith Lundsten

Salary: $145,083

District Profile

Student Body Size: 10,030

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $140,651,662

Prev Next

14. North Kingstown

Superintendent Phillip Auger

Salary: $145,352

District Profile

Student Body Size: 4,398

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $61,636,874

Prev Next

13. Westerly

Superintendent Roy Seitsinger

Salary: $146,477

District Profile

Student Body Size: 3,030

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $55,015,253

Prev Next

12. Barington

Superintendent Michael Messore

Salary: $147,500

District Profile

Student Body Size: 3,101

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $44,851,748

Note: Salary includes longevity pay.

Prev Next

11. Chariho

Superintendent Barry J. Ricci

Salary: $149,030

District Profile

Student Body Size: 3,421

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $55,831,939

Note: District includes towns of Charlestown, Richmond, and Hopkinton.

Prev Next

10. Lincoln

Superintendent Georgia Fortunato

Salary: $149,130

District Profile

Student Body Size: 3,236

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $49,551,778

Prev Next

9. Woonsocket

Superintendent Giovanna M. Donoyan

Salary: $150,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 5,636

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $77,022,482

Prev Next

8. Scituate

Superintendent Paul R. Lescault

Salary: $150,098

District Profile

Student Body Size: 1,492

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $22,330,940

Prev Next

7. South Kingstown

Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow

Salary: $151,008

District Profile

Student Body Size: 3,393

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $59,950,442

Prev Next

6. Middletown

Superintendent Rosemarie K. Kraeger

Salary: $154,059

District Profile

Student Body Size: 2,360

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $37,340,131

Prev Next

5. Newport

Superintendent John H. Ambrogi

Salary: $155,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 2,005

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $39,683,489

Prev Next

4. Cumberland

Superintendent Philip Thorton

Salary: $158,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 4,470

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $55,508,846

Prev Next

3. Pawtucket

Superintendent Deborah A. Cylke

Salary: $159,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 9,072

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $112,889,497

Prev Next

2. Warwick

Superintendent Richard D'Agostino

Salary: $169,371

Longevity Pay: $2,480

District Profile

Student Body Size: 9,487

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $162,729,013

Prev Next

1. Providence

Superintendent Susan Lusi

Salary: $190,000

District Profile

Student Body Size: 22,432

Annual Budget (FY 2012): $364,621,277

 
 

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