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

Special Publications

  • 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
  • Engaging Students in Their Own Learning: Rhode Island Youth Perspectives (Rhode Island KIDS COUNT in partnership with Young Voices) - All information provided in this report is based on the results of six focus groups and represents the views of 56 students at seven public high schools in Central Falls, Pawtucket, and Providence, Rhode Island. The report provides youth perspectives on what teaching and learning looks like in schools currently, what experiences students have had with more student centered approaches to learning, and how schools could better engage students in their own learning and prepare them for success in college and careers.
  • Improving College Access and Success: Providence Youth Perspective, October 2012  -This report summarizes the results of a series of focus groups conducted with Providence high school students to get their perspectives on the kind of support they need to select a college and complete the application process. The report provides youth perspectives on what works and how schools and community-based agencies could help more students enroll in and succeed in college.

Student-Centered Learning Fact Sheets 

Early Learning Fact Sheets 

Issue Briefs

  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Improving High School Graduation Rates in Rhode Island, March 2017
    This Issue Brief presents detailed graduation and dropout rates for every school and district in Rhode Island, research on early warning signs and risk factors of dropping out, as well as key strategies for increasing student engagement, graduation rates, and college and career readiness.
  • Preventing Bullying in Rhode Island Schools, December 2016
    Bullying behavior is a social, educational, and health problem that affects many children and adolescents in Rhode Island and in the U.S. Youth involved in bullying can experience higher rates of mental health problems, aggression, suicide, drug use, school absence, physical health problems, and cognitive functioning during childhood and adolescence as well as into adulthood. National, statewide, and community-specific information is presented, along with recommendations to prevent bullying in Rhode Island schools.
  • Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, May 2014
    This report discusses the lifelong importance of reading proficiently by the end of third grade, access to high-quality educational opportunities, and gives recommendations to develop strong readers across the state.
  • Improving High School Graduation Rates in Rhode Island, November 2013
    This report presents new data on graduation rates in Rhode Island and individual school districts, and provides recommendations for improvement.
  • Improving College Access and Completion in Rhode Island, June 2013

Special Initiatives

  • Creating Supportive Policy Conditions for Student-Centered Learning in Rhode Island: Rhode Island KIDS COUNT strongly believes that embracing student-centered learning is one of the keys to increasing Rhode Island's high school graduation rate, closing achievement gaps, and ensuring that more students are ready for success in college, careers, and life.

    Through this initiative, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works at the state level, advocating for policies to support student-centered learning. For more information, please click here, or contact Paige Clausius-Parks, Senior Policy Analyst. This initiative is supported by funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.
  • 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
         - The College Crusade of Rhode Island
         - Young Voices
         - College Visions
         - The College Advising Corps at Brown University’s Swearer Center
         - The College Planning Center
         - The NAACP – Providence Branch
         - The Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University

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

Related Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Resources

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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