Union poll gives Gist dismal approval rating from RI teachersMarch 27th, 2012 at 4:34 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Just 16% of public school teachers in Rhode Island had a favorable view of Gist’s job performance in January while 82% had a negative view, according to a survey of 401 teachers conducted by Fleming & Associates for the National Education Association Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.
The commissioner was particularly unpopular with long-tenured teachers. Those with 20 years or more experience in the classroom gave Gist a favorable rating of only 9%, significantly below the 23% favorable rating she received from teachers with less than 10 years of experience. (Fleming also conducts polling for WPRI 12.)
The two unions did not provide the full survey results but said its margin of error was plus or minus 4 points. It emerged less than a week after NEARI’s Delegate Assembly unanimously passed a resolution calling on Gist to delay the full implementation of the state’s new teacher evaluation system.
The basis of the evaluations are student test scores, and in 2014 Rhode Island is switching those examinations from the familiar New England Common Assessment Program (NEPAC) to the new Partnership for Assessing Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which follows new curriculum standards adopted by most states.
“The transition from NECAP to PARCC requires remodeling curriculum, instructional units, classroom materials, and classroom assessments,” the union’s resolution noted. “Using NECAP to measure teacher effectiveness while simultaneously expecting teachers to reconstruct curricula, instruction, and assessment in accordance with PARCC is unwise, inefficient and unfair.”
Elliot Krieger, a spokesman for Gist, acknowledged teachers are being asked to continue teaching based on the NECAP curriculum even as they learn the new PARCC standards, but said the department is doing its best to help them manage. He dismissed the idea of taking more time to roll out the new evaluation system.
“We’re totally committed to this,” Krieger told WPRI.com. He said nearly a third of the state’s roughly 15,000 teachers have been trained in the PARCC test curriculum, known as the Common Core State Standards, and the evaluation system is being used in every district this year with NECAP scores.
“There are challenges, there’s no doubt it, but it’s happening,” Krieger said of the curriculum transition. “We’ll learn from this year and we’ll do more next year, and it’ll improve each year. We’re moving forward with it.”
An earlier version of this post said the January Fleming & Associates poll of teachers was commissioned by the National Education Association Rhode Island alone; it was commissioned by NEARI and the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.