‘Time to say goodbye to Gist’


To the Editor:

It is clear from the response to the Providence Journal poll regarding Deborah Gist’s contract renewal that there is something very wrong.

At the time of this letter, 87 percent of the readership clearly answered, No! I wonder what Governor Chafee has to say about these results?

It is time to say goodbye to Dr. Gist. Her illegal bullying tactics, unfair treatment of special education students, and her pre-occupation with state assessments and charter schools is what is wrong with education in this state. 

Yes, our students need standards. Yes, our students should be proficient in their content area subjects. But what she has done in an attempt to achieve these goals is hurting public education.  Having lofty goals is admirable. However, her interpretation of the Basic Education Plan and her interpretation of labor laws is flawed. I challenge anyone to read the Basic Education Plan as set prior to her tenure (and not yet changed). Then read her interpretation of it. It is clear that she has an agenda that goes against what we all know to be true – students come first. 

The standards that Dr. Gist has set forth do not put students first. It places her first. Her desire to be the “reformer” is getting in the way of what is right. It is time that Governor Chafee do what his constituents want. We need to have a student-centered commissioner, not one that is out to make herself look good. Her “journey through Rhode Island” may be a good title for a PhD thesis, but it is a terrible way to run a state education system. 

Joel Gluck



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