Education in Rhode Island

Education is a lifetime process that begins at birth and continues throughout a child's life into adulthood. Through their experiences in the classroom, children build academic, social-emotional, and study skills to help them succeed throughout their life.

Education IllustrationProviding children with high-quality education is critical for healthy development. People with more education are more likely to practice health-promoting behaviors, to be able to access needed care, to have better health outcomes and to live longer than those with less education.

Education is also critical for future employment, and for a healthy economy: by 2020, 71% of Rhode Island’s jobs will require education beyond a high school diploma. And in Rhode Island, adults without high school diplomas are about four times as likely to be unemployed as those who have bachelor’s degrees.

Here you will find resources to help you monitor and work on policy, build programs, advocate, and allocate funding for education in Rhode Island.

Our Publications

Factbook Indicators


  • School-Based Mental Health Services in Newport: Perspectives from Newport Youth, Parents, and the Community, November 2023
    Servicios de salud mental en la escuela: Perspectivas de los jóvenes, los padres y la comunidad de Newport
    This report was written in collaboration with the Newport community, through thoughtful focus groups and one-on-one conversations. We contacted trusted community-based organizations with strong ties to the community to help recruit parents and youth for participation. The purpose of these conversations was to gather input from students and parents about the resources needed to support and enhance their families’ and communities' mental health and well-being.

    It is critical to note that school districts across Rhode Island and across the country are working to address the youth mental health crisis and experiencing many of the same challenges as Newport. Being willing to reflect, amplify, and learn from youth and parent experiences is a true act of leadership. Thank you, Newport Public Schools, for this leadership.
  • Issue Brief: Multilingual Learners in Rhode Island, February 2023
    During the 2020-2021 school year, there were 15,107 Multilingual Learner (MLL) students in Rhode Island, representing 11% of all students in grades Pre-K through 12. In Rhode Island, the number of MLL/EL students nearly doubled from the 2009-2010 to 2020-2021 school year. MLL students are best taught through an asset-based approach that supports their linguistic capabilities, celebrates the rich culture they bring to the classroom through materials that reflect their identities and experiences, and creates a culture where their multilingualism is viewed as a strength and educators expect success. This report provides an overview of educational outcomes for Rhode Island's MLL students, as well as promising practices and policies to best support their success.
  • Issue Brief: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in K-16 Education in Rhode Island, January 2023
    The diversity of Rhode Island is an asset; however, there are wide, persistent, and unacceptable disparities in education by race and ethnicity. This Issue Brief outlines the root causes of racial and ethnic disparities in education, and incorporates Rhode Island data across educational indicators and outcomes. Policy and community solutions to address these persistent racial and ethnic disparities are presented. 
  • Special Report: Equity Analysis: Rhode Island School Districts (Fall 2022)
    COVID-19 Impact and Recovery: An Equity Analysis of Rhode Island School Districts’ Planned Use of ESSER III Funds analyzes the ESSER III plans of the 36 traditional public school districts in Rhode Island and highlights how school districts have allocated funds to address chronic absenteeism, mental and behavioral health, lost instruction time in literacy and math, family engagement, and the needs of Multilingual Learners, students receiving special education services, Students of Color, students in foster care, and students experiencing homelessness. Please see the full publication in English and in Spanish.
  • ESSER Community Fact Sheets (Fall 2021)
    Rhode Island schools will receive nearly $600 million through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund to reopen safely, and address the impact of Covid-19 on students, families, & educators. Please see the new ESSER Community Fact Sheets — including information on the amount each district will receive, and how community members can engage in the allocation process — in English and SpanishFact Sheets focusing on the core cities are also available in English and Spanish
  • Student-Centered Learning Fact Sheet (2019): Policies and Practices Supporting Student-Centered Learning in Rhode Island: School Climate uses an equity lens to look at policies, practices, and measures of school climate, including student mental and behavioral health. The report suggests actions we can take to ensure that all students, particularly students of color, low-income students, differently-abled students and Multilingual Learners, are in schools that prioritize strong relationships between students and educators and promote excellent, equitable learning while also ensuring student safety and emotional well-being.
  • Student-Centered Learning Fact Sheet (2019): Equitable Access to College and Career Readiness Opportunities and Advisory Systems and Individual Learning Plans examine policies and practices that support equitable access to college and career readiness opportunities and how Rhode Island can ensure that these opportunities are available for all students, particularly low-income students, students of color, and students in high-need communities.

Special Initiatives

  • The Antiracist Education Policy Collaborative: This collaborative brings together youth, parents, and community organizations to identify policies that contribute to racial and ethnic disparities and to develop and advocate for anti-racist education policies. Key partners include: 
    - Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education 
    - Parents Leading for Educational Equity 
    - Providence Student Union
    - Youth In Action 
    - Young Voices 
  • Rhode Island Alliance for College and Career Readiness: The Rhode Island Alliance for College and Career Readiness was developed to raise awareness about the connection between college and career readiness, the success of individual students, and the economic stability of our state. The Alliance identifies and advocates for legislative and regulatory changes and budgetary investments needed to increase college and career readiness.

    Members include:
         - Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
         - Onward We Learn
         - Young Voices
         - College Visions
         - The NAACP – Providence Branch
         - The Latino Policy Institute 

    For more information, please visit our Facebook page, Twitter page, or contact Jessica Vega-Alejandro, Senior Policy Analyst. The Alliance is supported by funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

Additional Resources

Rhode Island


  • Annie E. Casey Foundation National Data Center – Education Indicators
    Rhode Island KIDS COUNT contributes data to the national KIDS COUNT Data Center, which is managed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.The national KIDS COUNT Data Center connects you to over four million data points about the well-being of children and families in each state and across the country. You can easily access hundreds of indicators related to health, education, employment and income, child welfare, and many other topics. The Data Center is free and available to all.
  • The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.
  • The Education Commission of the States (ECS) was created by states, for states, in 1965. ECS tracks state policy trends, translate academic research, provide unbiased advice and create opportunities for state leaders to learn from one another.
  • Education Week is an online news source for issues surrounding K-12 education. 

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, safety, education, economic security, and development of Rhode Island’s children.


Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


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