Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and a pursuit that has become increasingly necessary for success in the 21st century workforce. Rhode Islanders are experiencing both triumphs and struggles as we endeavor to educate our children and ourselves. The following series of charts and graphs provide snapshots of three major education areas: early childhood, elementary and secondary education, and adult education. See the Tableau graphs below for more information about each topic area.

Early Learning: Accessibility, Affordability, and Quality

In the early childhood segment, the prohibitively high cost of quality child care and early childhood education deeply impacts who has access to child care, and in particular, high quality child care. The income groups most impacted by the high cost of child care are those families who earn more around $40,000 per year because they are no longer eligible for child care subsidies, but earn less than the approximately $65,000 it would take to pay for child care. Click here for more about the costs of child care.

Additionally, Bright Stars, an evaluation and quality rating entity for early childhood programs, presents that only 53 early learning centers and programs have achieved the highest quality ratings of 4 and 5 stars. Learn more about Bright Stars and access to high quality early learning centers and programs. Click here for more about Rhode Island resources for child care.

Chronic Absence, Churning, and Student Disability in School-Age Students

This segment of data is demonstrates some education outcomes related to underlying causes such as poverty, financial instability, housing instability, and lack of access to preventive health care. In these data sets, the evident impact of the underlying causes on student learning and success in school is wide ranging.

Chronic absenteeism means that a student misses at least 15 days of school in a year. The issue of chronic absenteeism applies to schooling from early childhood through high school. Absenteeism is caused by many underlying factors including poor health, transportation challenges, housing instability, financial insecurity, and lack of engagement in school. For more information, check out the US Department of Education’s report on chronic absenteeism.

Student churning or mobility rates measure how often a student changes schools. High rates of mobility can be attributed to housing instability, financial instability, or a familial disruption (i.e. new job, divorce, etc). Churning is disruptive to both a student’s learning process, as well as to the progress of the class. For more on Rhode Island’s student mobility issue, check out the Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook.

Prevalence of Student Disability shows how many students in each school district require some kind of special accommodation or intervention to assist in their learning. While the size of the blocks in this chart are sized according to the number of students receiving disability services, it is important to hover over each rectangle and note the percentage of students in each district receiving services. While Providence may have the highest number of students identified as receiving disability intervention, Woonsocket, Johnston, and Block Island/New Shoreham actually have the highest percentages of students at 21-22%.

How RI Compares to the Rest of New England

This map demonstrates the high school graduation rate, the number of disconnected youth, and the rate of disconnected youth. Disconnected youth are school age youth who are neither enrolled in school nor working. By hovering over each state, you will get a sense of how RI compares to other New England states.

The pie chart depicting the RI 9th grade success rate provides context for the above numbers. When a child does not, for whatever reason, successfully complete 9th grade on time, research has shown that that child is also less likely to graduate high school or be prepared for work.

The Need for Adult Education Services in RI

The graph in this segment demonstrates the massive disparity that exists between the estimated need for adult education services and the number of those enrolled in adult education programs. The estimated need is based on the US Census American Community Survey’s number of adults who did not receive a high school diploma or high school equivalency and the number of adults who speak English “less than ‘very well’.” These data are relevant and important because it impacts the ability of Rhode Islanders to qualify for jobs that pay family sustaining wages.