In what I thought was one of the most interesting and honest exchanges of my interview with Deborah Gist, she tells me that teacher morale has been low since she came to Rhode Island four years ago, and that there’s a negativity surrounding local teachers and the state itself.
“Morale was very low when I got here,” she said. “I was so surprised at, just, the dejection, people were really bummed out.”
Gist worked in four different states and the District of Columbia before coming to Rhode Island and said she has never before seen the level of divisiveness between management and labor. She also said the state suffers from a sense of negativity about itself.
So I asked her if she thought local teachers were embattled- a term both RI Future and the Providence Journal have used to describe Gist recently. She said she didn’t know. She also made reference to a vocal minority that actively engages in teacher bashing for the sake of shrinking government.