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Gist: I’m confident Chafee supports race to the top

November 5, 2010

Despite recent speculation that her job may be in jeopardy, State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says she is confident Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee supports her plans for public school reform.

“I am confident that Governor-elect Chafee does support our plans and does support Race to the Top,” Gist said today. “I’m looking forward to working with him to carry out those plans.”

In a news conference earlier this week, Chafee stopped short of saying he would keep Gist in her position. He also raised questions about the state’s Race to the Top plan during his campaign, but Gist says the two have ironed out their differences.

“We discussed those questions and answered those questions, and his comments about it leading up to the actual election were very, very positive,” Gist said.

Chafee sent a letter of support to federal officials when Rhode Island submitted its application for $75 million in Race to the Top funding, something Gist says helped the state ultimately win the competitive grant. The application was controversial, in part, because it called for teacher evaluations based 51% on student test scores.

Many teachers’ union leaders opposed the evaluations and a move to link them to teacher pay and tenure decisions. Both statewide teachers’ unions endorsed Chafee’s run for governor.

Chafee said during a debate that he would honor Gist’s contract, which runs through the end of June, 2013. Gist says she believes she has overwhelming public support for her initiatives.

“Across the state, what I see overwhelmingly is a tremendous amount of support for the work that we’re doing,” said Gist. “I don’t think that anybody wants to see us pulling back or changing course.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Better than Frank permalink
    November 5, 2010 11:05 pm

    bye Debbie….have fun in DC

  2. John permalink
    November 6, 2010 7:51 pm

    Aren’t comments like these what cost Rhee her job? Maybe she should let Chafee speak for himself instead of challenging him to a duel, unless she is trying to pick a fight to cover her exit.

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