How Will House Shakeup Affect Education Proposals?

Mar 25, 2014

Education officials are taking a "wait and see" approach to leadership changes at the Statehouse, with several education bills pending in the legislature.

"We've had a good relationship with leadership over time," said Elliot Krieger, the spokesman for State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. "Like everyone else, we're waiting to see what the new leadership will be."

Several bills now before state lawmakers seek to undo some of Gist's more controversial initiatives, including the link between test scores and high school diplomas. Another bill would delay implementation of a new standardized test known as the PARCC exam, which is slated to replace NECAP next year.

Teachers union leaders are similarly waiting to see what happens on Smith Hill.

"[W]e want to see the next Speaker listen to educators, parents and students and work with us to move RI education forward," said National Education Association Rhode Island President Larry Purtill in an email. "Would certainly like to see more resources for preschool, all-day K and addressing the drop out rate. "

If, as expected, Cranston Representative Nicholas Mattiello is elected speaker, teachers union leaders may have a powerful ally in House leadership. Mattiello plans to make Providence Democrat John DeSimone his majority leader. DeSimone works as an attorney for the Providence Teachers Union.