Tuesday, May 10, 2011

That's Our Deb!

Diane Ravitch:

Last week, I went to Providence, R.I., to give a lecture. Before my arrival, I was invited by Gov. Lincoln Chafee to meet privately with him. Thirty minutes before my hour with Gov. Chafee, I learned that state Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Gist would join our meeting. As it turned out, I had 10 minutes of private time with the governor, then 50 minutes with Gist and leaders of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers.

I mention all this because of what happened during the 50 minutes. Gist is clearly a very smart, articulate woman. But she dominated the conversation, interrupted me whenever I spoke, and filibustered to use up the limited time. Whenever I raised an issue, she would interrupt to say, "That isn't happening here." She came to talk, not to listen. It became so difficult for me to complete a sentence that at one point, I said, "Hey, guys, you live here all the time, I'm only here for a few hours. Please let me speak." But Gist continued to cut me off. In many years of meeting with public officials, I have never encountered such rudeness and incivility. I am waiting for an apology.

1 comment:

Shacks said...

"Something stinks in Denmark," and I think it does in Providence too. Thank you for submitting Diane Ravitch's comments. What an insult to an experienced leader in education, some day our "friend," Debbie G" will show her true colors, as an egotistical braggart who is an insult to education. I do not teach in her system, but I do believe she uses her so called improvements in education as a stepping stone to her own success back in Washington DC with bigger boys. Meanwhile, she has been teasing non educators telling them that RI needs a better way to educate. People hear that and think, "Finally, we have someone who cares about our kids " and then they listen to nothing else. Sure some teachers need to leave the system, they always have, but some have changed the lives of kids for the better, and now they are being put out to pasture. Test scores mean very little, too bad we cannot communicate with Albert Einstein or Leonardo Da Vinci, as both would have been on Ms. Gist's list of poor students and their teachers would have been let go toute de suite.