The only organization dedicated solely to helping state boards advance equity and excellence in public education.

A high school diploma should mean that all students are ready for college and a career, but in Rhode Island, it did not. According to a 2019 audit, just four in a hundred Rhode Island seniors were prepared for both college and a career, and more than half graduated without concrete career skills. Thousands were ineligible to enroll even in the state’s own college system because they had not completed course requirements.

When I became commissioner of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) in 2019, I committed to ensuring that Rhode Island would start providing all its high school students with  equitable opportunities for postsecondary success. To start that transformation, the department had to take a long look in the mirror. In 2019, RIDE entered into a partnership with XQ Institute, a national organization dedicated to reimagining high school education.

How Rhode Island Increased the Value of a High School Diploma

Also In this Issue

A New Architecture for High School Learning

By Russlynn Ali and Timothy F.C. Knowles

State leaders should retire the Carnegie unit and open the door for high school designs that ensure learning is engaging, relevant, experiential, and competency based.

Telltale Signs of Rigor and Career Readiness in High School

By Gene Bottoms

State boards can take a lesson from schools that already dish up rigorous assignments in college- and career-ready courses alike and ensure more schools do it.

How Rhode Island Increased the Value of a High School Diploma

By Angélica Infante-Green

New graduation requirements aim to align with college admission standards and address inequities in college and career readiness.

Access to Data Is Key to Navigating High School and Beyond

By Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger

Surveyed students report being at sea on postsecondary options and the progress they are making toward their goals.

Merging High School and College: The Early College High School Model

By Julie A. Edmunds

Six elements in statewide law and policy pave the way for effective programs that help more students thrive in college courses while they are still in high school.

Featured Items

Empowering Families to Improve Youth Mental Health

State education leaders can foster children’s mental health by increasing families’ preparedness and awareness of available resources and activities.

Engaging All Students

Authors explore the reasons why students increasingly feel uninspired and disengaged at school and outline steps state leaders can take to help schools and districts increase students’ engagement and connectedness.
Image Credit: iStock i

Beyond Testing for Lead in Drinking Water: Implications for Funding

While most states encourage or require schools to test for lead in drinking water, funding to sustain remediation lags—despite significant federal grants designed to boost those efforts.

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