Advocacy group to Chafee: don’t obstruct school reform
RI-CAN, a recently launched education reform group, is asking Governor Chafee to keep the current composition of the State Board of Regents, which sets policy for public elementary and secondary schools in Rhode Island.
All but one member of the board is up for reappointment. RI-CAN has written an open letter asking Governor Chafee to let State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and the board continue their current agenda of school reforms, which include expanding charter schools and tying high school diplomas to state tests, an idea that has come under fire recently from some community groups.
On the campaign trail, Chafee expressed reservations about charter schools, saying he preferred to concentrate on improving traditional public schools. Chafee has also invited Diane Ravitch, a vocal critic of the Obama Administration’s school reform agenda, to speak in the Ocean State later this year.
Some reform advocates fear that Chafee will slow the pace of reforms pursued by Commissioner Gist, which they credit with putting Rhode Island on the map of states pushing for aggressive school reform and helping the state win a $75 million Race to the Top Grant from the federal government.