School & District Management

Big-Name Crowd Lends Gist Support

By Sean Cavanagh — February 01, 2011 1 min read

Rhode Island schools chief Deborah A. Gist has a fan in Jeb Bush. And Andrés Alonso. And Eli Broad. And apparently, many, many others.

That much is clear from a campaign organized by a group called the Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now, or RI-CAN, which has penned a letter asking the state’s governor to keep Ms. Gist on the job and keep the basic composition of the state’s board of regents, which appoints her.

The group recruited about 50 signatories, including the aforementioned former Florida governor, Baltimore schools chief executive officer, and philanthropist.

The letter to Rhode Island’s new governor, Lincoln Chafee, an Independent, argues that Ms. Gist and current members of the state board have been instrumental in making positive changes in schools, which helped the state win a $75 million grant in the federal Race to the Top competition. RI-CAN believes keeping Ms. Gist and the board is a good way to ensure that the state fulfills the plan’s goals, explained the group’s executive director, Maryellen Butke.

“The current team has proved to be a winning one, scoring substantial victories on behalf of Rhode Island schoolchildren,” reads the Jan. 25 letter. “They must continue to have real impact.”

The Rhode Island group is not necessarily arguing that all the members of the current board stay in place, Ms. Butke said. But it’s hoping that any new ones Gov. Chafee appoints are committed to the goals in the state’s Race to the Top plan.

Others signing the letter included New Jersey’s acting schools chief, Christopher Cerf; former Arizona state schools chief Lisa Graham Keegan; and former New York City schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein.

Ms. Gist has won praise from some for her efforts to raise teacher qualifications in her state. She’s also made some controversial calls, like backing the firing of teachers at Central Falls High School, a persistently low-performing school, as federal law allowed. The teachers were later rehired.

Mr. Chafee’s office declined to comment in detail on the letter, saying only that governor looks forward to working with RI-CAN and other stakeholders in pursuit of quality education for the children of Rhode Island.

A version of this article appeared in the February 02, 2011 edition of Education Week as Big-Name Crowd Lends Gist Support

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Safe Return to Schools is Possible with Testing
We are edging closer to a nationwide return to in-person learning in the fall. However, vaccinations alone will not get us through this. Young children not being able to vaccinate, the spread of new and
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Meeting the Moment: Accelerating Equitable Recovery and Transformative Change
Educators are deciding how best to re-establish routines such as everyday attendance, rebuild the relationships for resilient school communities, and center teaching and learning to consciously prioritize protecting the health and overall well-being of students
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion A Crisis Sows Confusion. How District Leaders Can Be Clear in Their Messaging
Choosing a go-to source of information is a good starting point, but it doesn’t end there.
Daniel R. Moirao
2 min read
A man with his head in a cloud.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion COVID-19 Ripped Through Our Emotional Safety Net. Here’s How My District Responded
Three years after overhauling its approach to student mental health, one California district found itself facing a new crisis.
Jonathan Cooper
2 min read
A young man stands under a street light on a lonely road.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Students Need Better Connections. To Wi-Fi, Yes, But Also to Teachers
We have to fix our digital divide, but let’s not lose sight of the relationship divide, writes one superintendent.
Susan Enfield
2 min read
A teacher checks in on a remote student.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
School & District Management Opinion Superintendents Have Weathered a Lot of Vitriol This Year. What Have We Learned?
The pandemic turned district leaders into pioneers, writes one superintendent. We had to band together to make it through.
Matthew Montgomery
2 min read
A person walks from a vast empty space towards a team of people.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images