Rhode Island reaps meager return despite huge spending in public education

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) released its first accountability report card, and the state commissioner struggled to put a positive spin on the results.

Covering the 2021-22 school…

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) released its first accountability report card, and the state commissioner struggled to put a positive spin on the results.

Covering the 2021-22 school year, the report measured math and English test scores, chronic absenteeism, and whether districts had improved since 2019.

RIDE found that only 10% of districts had significantly improved in the past 3 years, meaning most either stagnated or got worse.

Schools were then ranked on a scale of 1 to 5, with a meager 41 schools (14%) receiving 4- or 5-star ratings.

One-star schools made up 13% of Rhode Island’s public schools.

While every state is bound to have a few bad apples, the lack of student success in Rhode Island is both puzzling and disturbing given the state’s funding of public education.

The report claims an average per pupil spending of $19,677 – making RI’s public schools some of the most expensive in the nation.

Despite the spending, the average English and math proficiency scores are mortifying, especially since most Rhode Island students – more than 70% – will attend 2- or 3-star schools.

In 3-star schools, only one-third of students are proficient in reading and math. In 2-star schools, that figure drops to 1 in 5 students.

“Rhode Island students are on a path to academic recovery post-COVID, but we must stay the course and continue to follow the data to ensure their future success,” said state Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green in a press release.

“We are at a pivotal time in education in Rhode Island, and we must leverage the information we have on our district’s promising areas and challenges, to create a stronger, more equitable state education system that prepares all students for success in college and career,” she concluded.