This is What Education Funding Looks Like

Good news for the middle schools of the United States, as Sen. Whitehouse champions new legislation to fund struggling middle schools.  


Whitehouse Announces Legislation to Improve Middle School Achievement


Providence, RI – Today, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed announced the introduction of the Success in the Middle Act, legislation to improve our nation’s middle schools. At the press conference, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Providence School Superintendent Susan Lusi, and Gilbert Stuart Middle School Principal Edward Halpin shared their support for the legislation and discussed its benefits for Rhode Island children.


“When children reach high school unprepared, it is often too late for them to catch up,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and lead sponsor of the Success in the Middle Act. “This legislation will help struggling middle schools prepare students for the academic rigors of high school, and put children on the path to college or a career early on.” 


“I applaud Senator Whitehouse for leading this effort to target reforms to the middle grades, a critical time when too many kids can fall off track and fall behind. This legislation will provide additional resources to improve our middle schools and help kids reach their full potential and successfully transition to high school, college, and the workforce,” said Reed.


“The middle school years can be a difficult, transitional time for children. In Providence, we have put a lot of effort into providing support and services both in and out of school for our middle school students. Senator Whitehouse’s ‘Success in the Middle’ legislation would significantly enhance the ability of communities across our nation to ensure that all students complete the middle grades prepared for success in high school and in the rest of their lives,” said Mayor Angel Taveras.


“We are grateful to our Senators from Rhode Island for their ongoing commitment to education, and especially to that of our most at-risk students,” said Providence Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi. “This bill would bolster our efforts to ensure that the critical middle school years are full of strong academics, positive school cultures and supportive structures to ensure student success.”


The Success in the Middle Act would help disadvantaged middle-grade students reach their full potential by providing federal grants to underachieving school systems. Senators Whitehouse and Reed announced the reintroduction of the legislation at Gilbert Stuart Middle School in Providence, a school that could benefit from passage of the Success in the Middle Act.


An earlier version of the Success in the Middle Act was originally introduced in the Senate by Barack Obama before he was elected President, and was then championed by Senator Reed. Senator Whitehouse will introduce a new version of the bill next week when the Senate goes back into session.

Some national coverage of the dust-up between Sgouros and Gist. Moving the conversation forward, I hope!

Diane Ravitch's blog

As we saw in the previous postTom Sgouros explained in detail why it was wrong for Rhode Island to use the NECAP as a graduation requirement. It was not designed for that purpose, and many students will fail who should have passed.

State Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist said Sgouros was wrong because he is not a psychometrician. She did not explain why he was wrong, not did she understand that psychometricians would likely agree with Sgouros. The cardinal rule of testing is that tests should be used only for the purpose for which they were designed.

Here is Sgouros’ account (if I hear from Gist, I will print hers):

Gist Offers Logical Fallacies On NECAP Value

By Tom Sgouros on March 20, 2013

I was on the radio ever so briefly this afternoon, on Buddy Cianci’s show with Deborah Gist. Unfortunately, the show’s producer hadn’t actually invited me so…

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Diane Ravitch blogs on the experiment this weekend in Providence where adults took the NECAP to see what it measures. Yay!

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Providence Student Union thought it was wrong that a single high-stakes exam should determine whether they graduate.

To prove their point, they invited legislators, educators, and community leaders to take the test. The test was made up of released items. The results will be released later this week.

Hats off to the brave adults who took the risk.

Here is the students’ press release:

March 16, 2013

CONTACT: Aaron Regunberg | | 847-809-6039 (cell)



Providence, Rhode Island – March 16, 2013 – Youth in Providence turned the testing tables today with an event designed to lend a deeper perspective to the debate over Rhode Island’s new high-stakes NECAP diploma system. Members of the Providence Student Union (PSU), a high school student advocacy group, administered a shortened version of the test that…

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