National Education Association Rhode Island

Elisabeth Harrison

The leader of one of Rhode Island's two powerful teachers' unions sounded unconvinced this week, following the unveiling of State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner's proposal to open public schools to students from other districts and provide more leeway on items like budgets and textbooks.

In a written statement released after Wagner's "State of Education" speech at the General Assembly, National Education Association Rhode Island President Larry Purtill suggested he takes issue with some aspects of the plan.

RIPR FILE

Newport teachers wrapped up two days of training Thursday before the new school year starts after Labor Day. But their contract talks remain at an impasse. National Education Association of Rhode Island President Larry Purtill said there is still time to return to the bargaining table.

“Right now there’s nothing formally set up or any formal discussion but I would hope that would take place very quickly,” said Purtill.

The main sticking point is a contract provision that provides extra pay when class sizes go over the limit.

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On of the state's two teachers' unions is calling for parents to get better information about how to opt out of standardized tests.

In a resolution, the executive committee of the National Education Association Rhode Island says the state and local districts should provide written information to parents about their right to remove children from testing.

The resolution stresses that teachers have a free speech right to talk to parents about opting out of testing, including the new multi-state test known as PARCC.

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.

An elected board member with the state’s largest teachers’ union has resigned from that post following his arrest last week.  Louis Rainone was charged after an altercation at an East Greenwich restaurant.

East Greenwich police were called to the Harborside restaurant Friday afternoon after a reported assault. The alleged victim, Kenneth Chatelle, told police Rainone threatened him after being told to go away and then Rainone punched Chatelle in the eye. One witness told police the punch was thrown after Chatelle pushed Rainone away.