Chafee Pleased by Gist's Contract Extension; Critics Vow Resistance

Jun 7, 2013

Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee is applauding the contract extension granted to state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist on Thursday. But the state’s largest teachers’ union remains upset about the decision to keep Gist as commissioner.

The state Board of Education voted, 7 to 3, to continue Gist’s contract for another two years. In a statement, Governor Chafee says he’s pleased by the agreement. The governor says he looks forward to continuing what he calls a productive and positive relationship with Gist.

But the National Education Association Rhode Island union is unhappy about the extension of Gist’s contract. Without being more specific, the NEA says it plans a series of active and passive steps to resist the implementation of Gist’s agenda.

Critics have focused in part on Gist’s management style and her support for a new standardized test known as the NECAP. As part of the commissioner’s new contract, Gist is supposed to take part in “respectful and meaningful conversation” with teachers and principals.