National Education Association Rhode Island President Larry Purtill released the following statement today (March 30) in response to Education Commissioner Ken Wagner's address before the General Assembly:

“We are appreciative of Governor Raimondo and Commissioner Wagner’s efforts to engage in thoughtful and productive conversations with classroom educators. The difference in approach and tenor between Dr. Wagner and his immediate predecessor is significant, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with him and members of the administration in the months ahead.

While we share many of the commissioner’s goals and recognize the intent behind the legislation he outlined this evening, we remain concerned about language that might weaken or undermine the collective bargaining rights of education professionals.

NEARI is proud to represent some of the best educators in the country – including the last three Rhode Island Teachers of the Year. Our members go to great lengths to provide their students with a world-class education because we know they deserve nothing less. Now that the administration has formalized its proposals, we will respectfully participate in the legislative process and provide meaningful input for the General Assembly to consider.”