Clay Pell, one of three Democrats vying for his party’s nomination for governor, is urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to sign into law three education-related measures approved by the General Assembly in the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session.
The first would place a moratorium on the use of high-stakes tests as a graduation requirement. The other would change teacher evaluations and the third would provide full funding for all-day kindergarten in Rhode Island communities.
``I believe high-stakes testing as a graduation requirement distracts us from ensuring all Rhode Island students have access to the broad curriculum they need to compete, including music, art, language, science, sports and career and technical education,’’ said Pell in a statement.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who is also a Democratic gubernatorial aspirant, also says he favors the measures on NECAP and the teacher evaluations. ``The mayor and Providence School Supt. Susan Lusi have long been vocal opponents of the NECAP as a graduation requirement,'' the Taveras campaign said in a statetment.
Taveras also said he favors Chafee signing into law the teacher evaulation legislation.
``I know education has been a challenging area in Rhode Island over the past few years,’’ said Pell. ``Too much energy has been expended by too many narrow issues, rather than attacking the larger difficulties and areas of promise.’’
The unions representing the state’s public school teachers are backing these measures. One of the two major teacher unions, the National Education Association – Rhode Island has endorsed Pell’s candidacy.
The RI Federation of Teachers has not endorsed a candidate. That union's Providence affiliate is in contract talks with the Taveras Administration. The current pact expires just before the beginning of the school year and about a eek before the Sept. 9 primary. How those negotiations go will likely influence the union's endorsement in the governors' campaign.
A Chafee spokesman says the governor has not considered the legislation yet because the measures have not been transmitted to his desk by the Assembly.