NEARI

With the flip of the calendar to September, the lull of late summer will soon give way to a burst of political activity: a special legislative session, an intensifying PawSox debate, and the march to the 2018 campaign season. So thanks for stopping by. Your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. (A quick program note: I'm taking some time off next week, so TGIF will return on September 15). Here we go.

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Under Obama administration guidance gender nonconforming students were allowed to use bathrooms and changing facilities that corresponded to the gender with which they identified. Last week the Trump administration rescinded the protections, leaving the decisions to states. In the days following, Rhode Island lawmakers, educators, and advocates have voiced their opposition to the rollback.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island officially has a new education commissioner after a vote Monday to confirm Governor Gina Raimondo’s nominee, Ken Wagner.

So far, reaction to Wagner has been optimistic, but some teachers have expressed reservations because he lacks experience in the classroom. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down with Larry Purtill, a member of the State Board of Education and the president of the National Education Association Rhode Island, one of two teachers’ unions in the state.

One of Rhode Island's two teachers' unions, the National Education Association Rhode Island, has endorsed democrat Clay Pell in the race for governor.

NEARI President Larry Purtill says this gubernatorial race will play a crucial role in the future of public education.

"We need a candidate who will listen to educators, stop the testing craze and make sure that every Rhode Island student has the opportunity for a great public school education," Purtill said in a written statement.