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By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE ‚Äď Education Commissioner Deborah Gist on Tuesday called for investment and innovation in early learning, technology, and mathematics improvement, in her fourth annual State of Education address to the General Assembly.
To that end, Gist reported that this fall the R.I. Department of Education will hold a second annual statewide conference on innovation powered by technology.
‚ÄúTechnology is not just a tool that can enhance education,‚ÄĚ Gist said. ‚ÄúTechnology can improve the very nature of instruction.‚ÄĚ
The second statewide conference will gather education innovators to discuss technological innovations for schools.
In her address, Gist pointed to technology being part of preparing Rhode Island students for global success and to such achievements as the Wireless Classroom Initiative, which will bring Internet access to Rhode Island classrooms.
She also pointed to the Rhode Island Road Map to Language excellence, led by the University of Rhode Island, which aims to make every Rhode Island high school graduate proficient in a language other than English by 2030.
‚ÄúOur global competitiveness will depend on innovations, including digital learning, as well as the growth of efforts such as early-childhood education and world-language programs,‚ÄĚ Gist said.
Gist said Rhode Island has let low expectations slide for too long, which has resulted in 75 percent of Rhode Island‚Äôs ‚Äúrecent high school graduates‚ÄĚ taking remedial courses at the Community College of Rhode Island before they can begin earning credits toward a college degree.
‚ÄúAnd too many will enter the job market without the necessary skills. Too many will find that the doors to opportunity have closed,‚ÄĚ Gist said.