Dear Fellow Rhode Islanders:
We are very pleased to present you with Information
Works, the first product of Rhode Islands new public education information
initiative. This work is a result of new partnerships building information technologies
designed to facilitate the labors of those who have been working hard to strengthen our
schools for our children and our states future. We are beholden to the many people
who made this considerable undertaking possible.
In 1996, Governor Almond convened a group of 60 Rhode
Islanders to develop a plan to improve the states public schools. That plan, Rhode
Islands Comprehensive Education Strategy, calls for setting high academic standards
for all students and for regular state testing to measure how well students are meeting
these high standards. The Strategy also calls for the public reporting of those test
results to be done in a way that helps parents, schools and the public see where students
are making progress, and where they need additional help to meet achievement goals.
The Strategy was adopted by the Board of Regents,
endorsed by Governor Lincoln Almond and built into law through Article 31 of the 1998
budget. This historic and laudable public policy agreement provided the drive and
authority to accelerate our states school improvement initiative.
The first task has been to create an information system
that can serve both the publics demand for accountability and schools need to
inform their decision-making. Therefore, the Rhode Island Department of Education entered
into a unique partnership with the University of Rhode Islands National Center on
Public Education (NCPE). NCPE brings cutting edge technology and years of nationally
recognized research experience to the job of building a system capable of presenting
valuable, systematic information about schools, to schools and a wider public, on a
and on-going basis.
Information Works is only the first product of this
information engine. Over time, we will grow increasingly sophisticated about gathering,
analyzing and reporting the complicated web of facts that describes a schools health
and well being.
We strongly urge that you use the enclosed information
to get involved in the project of making our schools the finest in the nation. The
Department of Education welcomes and appreciates your responses.