Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said she was surprised and by the widespread lack of support among local teachers for her and her policies that a new Fleming and Associates poll revealed yesterday. 85 percent of teachers asked said they didn’t want her contract renewed.
“I’ll definitely take it seriously,” she said.
After she delivered the State of Education speech to Smith Hill lawmakers last night, I asked her about a new poll that came out to coincide with the made-for-news annual address. You can listen to our exchange here:
I’m concerned that Gist doesn’t have a successful strategy to deal with the morale problem. She typically has a great answer to every question the media asks of her, and she didn’t to this one. The poll indicated some 82 percent of teachers feel moral is bad in schools.
UPDATE: Here’s a much more detailed interview with Deborah Gist by Elizabeth Harrison of RIPR.
Gist’s contract expires this June, and Rhode Island teachers and their union representation are actively lobbying Gov. Chafee and the new state board of education not to retain the Carcieri appointee, who is perhaps best known for her divisiveness with her employees and a loyal adherence to education reform supported by the very rich and corporate America.