Rhode Island Teachers Will Voice Concerns Over Education Policy

May 20, 2013

Rhode Island’s two teacher unions are hosting a forum Monday to collect information to present to the state Board of Education.  Teacher evaluations and state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist are expected to be targeted for criticism.

Last week, two dozen business organizations endorsed state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and urged the state Board of Education to renew her contract.  Some of the teachers under her command, however, do not share their enthusiasm. Frank Flynn, president of the Rhode Island Federation of

Teachers and Health Professionals, calls her “dictatorial” and said 85 percent of teachers surveyed lack confidence in her leadership.

"We don’t believe that she communicates well with people. There’s no real communication and collaboration," said Flynn. "We believe that many times she uses us as a check list.’I checked with the unions.’ But she’s not looking for any meaningful feedback."

The teachers unions are upset over the state’s new teacher evaluation process, which determines such things as promotion, retention and transfers.

Flynn said the two unions are not yet prepared to call for Gist’s termination, but may do so at some point in the future.

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