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Moderate Party Gubernatorial Candidate, Ken Block, released the following statement in reaction to the American Federation of Teachers’ endorsement of Lincoln Chafee:
“The American Federation of Teachers’ choice to endorse before meeting with all of the candidates was uniformed and demonstrates that union leadership is out of step with its membership. The fact that they never even took the opportunity to meet with me and hear my stance on the issues is just another example of preserving the status quo.
We’ve seen this same disconnect before in the case of Central Falls, where the focus was on the power struggle rather than the needs of the teachers and students.
My wife is a teacher, my father is a life-long professor, and I talk to teachers everyday about my plans for education reform in this state. I understand that teachers do not need to be micromanaged, and should instead be paid and treated as white collar professionals. I believe that if given the chance, the members of the AFT would have been receptive to my message.
It’s unfortunate that in this case, leadership chose to protect its political position and power rather than allow an open and free exchange of ideas and ultimately prevented its membership from making an informed decision.
I urge that all bodies endorsing candidates this election year to fully hear what the candidates have to say in order to choose the best candidate capable of addressing their needs. We need to stop reinforcing the status quo by blindly supporting recycled politicians.
We should expect more.”