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Gary Sasse: A Rhode Island Education Bill of Rights

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

 

If the laudable educational ideas being offered by Rhode Island’s gubernatorial candidates are to advance they must be built on a solid foundation of an Education Bill of Rights and fiscal reality.

The National Governors Association reports that education was by far the most popular theme of governors in their state of the state addresses. Governors highlighted early childhood education, school performance, school funding, educational choices and career technical education.

Since the 1970’s many of the nations’s governors have become leaders in formulating educational policy. Republican, Democrat, liberal and conservative state chief executives were among the first to make the connection between educational performance and the economic development of their states.

Currently Rhode Island’s gubernatorial hopefuls are outlining programs they believe will improve student outcomes. They are proposing plans aimed at preparing our kids for meaningful careers. While there are nuanced differences, the common themes include early learning, ensuring children who enter the fourth grade can read, vocational and workforce training, providing appropriate facilities, and enhancing STEM programs.

While these suggestions are commendable, their implementation depends upon building them on a solid foundation. This foundation should be expounded in an Educational Bill of Rights for students and their parents. The Educational Bill of Rights would provide that all students have the opportunity to secure the skills and competencies needed for successful careers and active participation in civic life.

The precedent and value of an Educational Bill of Rights is embedded in our history. A Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution to protect certain inalienable political rights that were not enumerated in the original Constitution. Over 150 years later President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed an “Economic Bill of Rights”. He said, “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” A key tenant of Roosevelt’s “Economic Bill of Rights” was the “Right to an education”.

Speaking at the recent 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, President George W. Bush commented that the United States educational system favors white children over minorities, the poor and the disabled, making it “one of the most urgent civil rights issues of our times. “ President Bush’s statement has particular relevance to Rhode Island given the stringent standards for academic advancement mandated by state education policy makers.

Public education has historically been the responsibility of state and local governments. Thus it would be entirely appropriate for Rhode Island’s political leadership to promulgate and enforce an Educational Bill of Rights. The salient features of an Educational Bill of Rights for students and their parents might encompass the following guarantees.

1) The right to be taught by effective teachers. Effective teachers are trained and certified in the subject matter being taught. They are knowledgeable about their discipline, use state the art teaching strategies, and respect and respond to student inputs.

2) The right not to be taught by teachers who, after due process evaluation, fail to meet standards established by state and local education officials.

3) The right to appropriate academic materials and resources. This would include materials necessary to support all instructional programs, access to computers and the internet, and modern facilities to support rigorous science, technology and mathematics instruction.

4) The right to safe, clean and environmental-friendly school facilities.

5) The right to emotionally supportive schools that do not tolerate harassment, discrimination or abuse.

6) The right to attend a school where funding is based on student need with the goal of providing access to adequate educational opportunities.

7) The right to a pathway out of a failing school. This requires the availability of options to attend schools that best enhance a student’s opportunity for academic achievement.

8) The right to a fair, accurate and transparent assessment system that measures student performance and need. The assessment system should include multiple measures for students to demonstrate their competencies and clearly state what students are expected to know and accomplish.

9) The right of parents to current and reliable information about their child’s progress and performance.

Coach Vince Lombardi observes that “some people try to find things in this game that don’t exist, but football is only two things- blocking and tackling.”Adopting an Educational Bill of Rights can provide the next governor with the blocking and tackling fundamentals that will enable him or her to advance an educational agenda down the field given fiscal realities.

Who will be the first gubernatorial candidate that pledges to work for an Educational Bill of Rights?

Gary Sasse is Founding Director of the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University. He is the former Executive Director Rhode Island Public Expenditure and Director of the Departments of Administration and Revenue.

 

Related Slideshow: The Most and Least Diverse High Schools in Rhode Island

The data below reflects the 2012-13 academic year as provided by the Rhode Island Dept of Education. Values have been rounded to the nearest whole percent.

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#49 Ponaganset HS

North Scituate, RI

Total enrollment: 722

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: <1%
Black: <1%
Hispanic: <1%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 99%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#48 Scituate HS

Scituate, RI

Total enrollment: 491

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 0.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 97.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#47 Tiverton HS

Tiverton, RI

Total enrollment: 570

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 1.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 95%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#46 Coventry HS

Coventry, RI

Total enrollment: 1,694

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 2.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 95.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#45 Burrillville HS

Burrillville, RI

Total enrollment: 700

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 2.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 95.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#44 Exeter-West Greenwich

West Greenwich, RI

Total enrollment: 652

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 3.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 95.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#43 Chariho Regional HS

Wood River Junction, RI

Total enrollment: 1,136

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 2.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 94.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#42 North Kingstown HS

North Kingstown, RI

Total enrollment: 1,454

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 3.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 93.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#41 Mt. Hope HS

Bristol, RI

Total enrollment: 1,031

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#40 Narragansett HS

Narragansett, RI

Total enrollment: 462

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#39 Barrington HS

Barrington, RI

Total enrollment: 1,037

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 5.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 1.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#38 Smithfield Senior HS

Smithfield, RI

Total enrollment: 772

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 3.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#37 Portsmouth HS

Portsmouth, RI

Total enrollment: 974

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 3.0%
Hispanic: 2.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 92.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#36 Lincoln Senior HS

Lincoln, RI

Total enrollment: 1,067

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 6.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 91.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#35 North Smithfield HS

North Smithfield, RI

Total enrollment: 550

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 91.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#34 Warwick Vets HS

Warwick Veterans Memorial HS, Warwick RI

Total enrollment: 992

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 89.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#33 Toll Gate HS

Warwick, RI

Total enrollment: 982

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 3.0%
Hispanic: 6.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 87.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#32 Pilgrim HS

Warwick, RI

Total enrollment: 1,078

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 7.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 86.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#31 South Kingstown HS

South Kingstown, RI

Total enrollment: 1,095

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 3.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 86.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#30 Cranston HS West

Cranston, RI

Total enrollment: 1,629

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 8.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 85.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#29 East Greenwich HS

East Greenwich, RI

Total enrollment: 766

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 1.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 85.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#28 Westerly HS

Westerly, RI

Total enrollment: 941

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 85.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#27 Cumberland HS

Cumberland, RI

Total enrollment: 1,403

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 2.0%
Hispanic: 8.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 84.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#26 West Warwick HS

West Warwick Senior HS, West Warwick, RI

Total enrollment: 982

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 3.0%
Hispanic: 11.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 82.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#25 Johnston Senior HS

Johnston, RI

Total enrollment: 903

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 5.0%
Hispanic: 13.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 80.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#24 Beacon Charter HS

Beacon Charter High School For The Arts, Woonsocket, RI

Total enrollment: 230

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 6.0%
Hispanic: 10.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 80.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#23 Middletown HS

Middletown, RI

Total enrollment: 737

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 7.0%
Hispanic: 9.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 78.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#22 East Providence HS

East Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 1,564

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 13.0%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 77.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#21 Acad. for Career Exp.

Academy for Career Exploration, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 207

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 18.0%
Hispanic: 75.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 4.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#20 Central Falls HS

Central Falls, RI

Total enrollment: 838

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Black: 15.0%
Hispanic: 74.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 10.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#19 Cooley Health/Science

Cooley Health & Science Technology Academy, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 717

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 5.0%
Black: 16.0%
Hispanic: 74.0%
Two or more races: 1.0%
White: 3.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#18 North Providence HS

North Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 998

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 8.0%
Hispanic: 16.0%
Two or more races: 0.0%
White: 72.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#17 Times 2 Academy

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 652

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 32.0%
Hispanic: 55.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 6.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#16 Central HS

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 1,101

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 8.0%
Black: 16.0%
Hispanic: 70.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 3.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#15 Mt. Pleasant HS

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 884

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 4.0%
Black: 24.0%
Hispanic: 62.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 6.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#14 Prov. Career & Tech

Providence Career & Technical Academy, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 568

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 5.0%
Black: 16.0%
Hispanic: 69.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 7.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#13 Dr. Jorge Alvarez HS

Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 563

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 9.0%
Black: 15.0%
Hispanic: 69.0%
Two or more races: 2.0%
White: 4.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#12 E-Cubed Academy

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 360

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 29.0%
Hispanic: 54.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 10.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#11 Hope Arts School

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 1,035

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 25.0%
Hispanic: 56.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 9.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#10 Woonsocket HS

Woonsocket, RI

Total enrollment: 1,736

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 11.0%
Hispanic: 27.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 52.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#9 Shea Senior HS

Pawtucket, RI

Total enrollment: 905

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 46.0%
Hispanic: 33.0%
Two or more races: 5.0%
White: 14.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#8 Cranston HS East

Cranston, RI

Total enrollment: 1,587

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 10.0%
Black: 7.0%
Hispanic: 32.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 47.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#7 Blackstone Academy

Blackstone Academy Charter School, Pawtucket, RI

Total enrollment: 165

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.0%
Black: 21.0%
Hispanic: 57.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 15.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#6 Jacqueline M. Walsh

Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Pawtucket, RI

Total enrollment: 167

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 0.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 14.0%
Hispanic: 28.0%
Two or more races: 6.0%
White: 50.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#5 Rogers HS

Newport, RI

Total enrollment: 587

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 2.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 25.0%
Hispanic: 20.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 49.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#4 The MET School

The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 868

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 2.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.0%
Black: 15.0%
Hispanic: 42.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 35.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#3 Davies Career & Tech

Davies Career & Technical High School, Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 833

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 6.0%
Black: 13.0%
Hispanic: 39.0%
Two or more races: 4.0%
White: 38.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#2 William E. Tolman HS

William E. Tolman Senior High School, Pawtucket, RI

Total enrollment: 1,050

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.0%
Black: 18.0%
Hispanic: 37.0%
Two or more races: 6.0%
White: 37.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

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#1 Classical HS

Providence, RI

Total enrollment: 1,113

Percentage of total enrollment

Amer Indian/Alaskan: 1.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 9.0%
Black: 16.0%
Hispanic: 46.0%
Two or more races: 3.0%
White: 26.0%

Click here for this school's ranking on GoLocalProv's Top High Schools 2013

 
 

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