With public school teachers organizing to Dump Gist (they meet today at 4:30 at Cranston West High School) as her continued employment is debated later this week, students from Providence are applying some pressure as well. Following up on the Providence Student Union‘s high-profile action in which adults took the NECAP test, they now want to debate the issue with the adult behind the high stakes testing regime.
After meeting with Gist last week, they sent her a letter asking her to discuss the same issues in public.
“Students appreciated meeting with her behind closed doors, but believe that the discussion needs to happen in the public,” said Aaron Regunberg, an organizer of the student group.
Here’s the letter they sent:
Dear Commissioner Gist,
In the name of open discussion and the free exchange of ideas, we, the members of the Providence Student Union, respectfully request that you participate with us in a public debate regarding Rhode Island’s new high-stakes standardized testing graduation requirement. We suggest the following terms:
– We agree on a neutral setting
– We agree on a neutral moderator.
– We agree on a neutral format (our suggestion is to copy the debate done by Leadership Rhode Island for and against the resolution, “The Rhode Island Department of Education should reverse its decision to make NECAP scores a high school graduation requirement,” using some variation of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues’ public debate format).
We believe this will be a great opportunity for the people of Rhode Island to hear both sides of this important issue. We would like to propose June 8th as a possible date for the debate, although we are very willing to be flexible as we know you are busy. We sincerely hope you will take us up on this offer. Thank you.
The Providence Student Union