Updated March 26 at 12:25pm

Gist says technology key to improving classroom instruction


PROVIDENCE – 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.

“Technology is not just a tool that can enhance education,” Gist said. “Technology can improve the very nature of instruction.”

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.

“Our 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,” Gist said.

Gist said Rhode Island has let low expectations slide for too long, which has resulted in 75 percent of Rhode Island’s “recent high school graduates” taking remedial courses at the Community College of Rhode Island before they can begin earning credits toward a college degree.

“And too many will enter the job market without the necessary skills. Too many will find that the doors to opportunity have closed,” Gist said.


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I am always amazed at how our politicians, administrators, teachers and parents blame the tools. One week it is a lack of money, qualified teachers and then it’s the curriculum. When are we going to step up to the plate and look ourselves in the mirror?

In my humble opinion, our problem with education is us. Many children now grow up in single parent families where supervision is a challenge (I found it tough with 2 of us). I know way too many parents who will just sit their kids in front of a TV or video game instead of review their homework with them (which I doubt they did) or read a book to/with them.

Work ethic, discipline and responsibility are traits that are formulated at an early age .Our society sends a message that you don’t need to be responsible or work hard, our social services will take care of you. Children need to be reminded the Constitution says we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not the guarantee of happiness. It must be earned.

I do have empathy for the educators today, their job is untenable and they face a battle wall day after day. There will always be the students that excel and do our educators proud but there is no reason for all students to do well. I believe all children have the ability to succeed and learn inside of them on day 1 and it is our job as parents to bring it out. That’s right it is OUR job. The education system provides the framework but we as parents need to start raising our kids again or someone on the end of a computer screen will.

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