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How Rhode Island wants to spend $415 million on education

The federal money is coming from the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund

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Happy Tuesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I highly recommend the WWE documentaries on A&E. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 152,273 confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, after adding 54 new cases since June 11. The most-recent overall daily test-positive rate was 0.4 percent. The state announced no new deaths, keeping the total 2,722. There were 33 people in the hospital, and 596,172 residents were fully vaccinated.


How would you spend $415 million on education in Rhode Island?

State officials submitted a plan last week to the US Department of Education outlining their priorities for the federal funding made available through the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund.

Rhode Island was one of 28 states to file a proposal by the June 7 deadline. The state is eligible for $415,015,610, with the bulk of that money going directly school districts.

You can read the full plan here, but here are some top priorities.


The state saw a 3.1 percent decrease in students for the 2020-2021 school year, a drop of about 4,000 students. The largest enrollment reductions came in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs. At the same time, absences increased by 50 percent, according to the application. Those numbers should bounce back for the 2021-2022 school year, but the state wants to launch a back-to-school campaign to focus on students most likely to not enroll or be chronically absent.


Interim statewide assessments administered in the 2020-2021 school year show that both reading and math performance dropped during the pandemic, especially among students of color, differently abled students, multilingual learners, and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The state is focusing on providing personalized instruction to students, but it will also “universally screen all students both academically and social-emotionally, and target resources based on need and urgency.”



This is less of a challenge for Rhode Island because it allowed full in-person learning for most of the school year, but the state plans to once again require districts to submit reopening plans.

Charter schools

While the vast majority of funding is being directed toward traditional public schools, the state’s plan sets aside $1.2 million for new and expanding charter schools.


⚓ People in the city of Providence will once again be able to rent electric pedal-assisted bikes, almost two years after a promising but troubled predecessor was yanked off the streets. Read more.

⚓ A Rhode Island man is seeking to set the record for the fastest time on the Vermont Long Trail. Read more.

⚓ A great white shark in Rhode Island waters has been tagged with an acoustic device that will allow people to closely track its movements for up to 10 years. Read more.

⚓ Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is among the municipal leaders to sign on this op-ed backing a high-speed North Atlantic Rail network. Read more.

⚓ A group of high school and prep school basketball players will compete for the title of “The Best Shooter in Rhode Island” during an Aug. 14 contest in Newport that raises money for brain cancer research. Read more.


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Pandemic: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ended the state of emergency, after 462 days. Read more.

Politics: My colleague James Pindell explains why China — not Russian President Vladimir Putin — is the focus of President Joe Biden’s first foreign trip. Read more.

Summer: Camps are returning, but many are still taking COVID-19 precautions. Read more.

Sports: Columnist Dan Shaughnessy writes that it’s not a good look for UMass to be honoring John Calipari and Marcus Camby with statues. Read more.


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.

⚓ BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Thursday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.

⚓ The Globe is holding a virtual event at noon that will focus on how pandemic-era changes have given workers more flexibility. 

⚓ The House Judiciary Committee will consider a bill that would allow for the sealing of records pertaining to cases for which a person is acquitted or otherwise exonerated. 

⚓ The Providence Board of Canvassers meets at 3:30 p.m. to certify the results of last week’s special City Council election. 

⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.