Person

Francis J. Flynn

Francis (Frank) J. Flynn is a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and the president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals. Flynn has been involved with teachers’ union activism since 1977.

Among the policies against which Flynn has campaigned are reforms to Rhode Island’s teacher tenure law, and reopening Rhode Island public schools amid the COVID-19 outbreak. He has supported legislation to make it tougher for new charter schools to be approved in the state and campaigned to re-close all Rhode Island schools in late 2020.

Early Activism

In 1977, Flynn graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Rhode Island College. He then went to work as a special education teacher in Cranston, Rhode Island. He first became involved with the local teacher’s union, the Cranston Teachers Alliance as a building delegate. Flynn was also chair of the union’s negotiations committee. [1]

In 2003, Flynn was elected the president of the Cranston Teachers Alliance. [2]

State Union Work

In 2010, Flynn was elected president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals. Flynn also resigned as a special education teacher in Cranston. Flynn’s first main priority was rehabilitating the image of teachers and public employees. [3]

In 2011, Flynn was elected a vice president of the national American Federation of Teachers in an executive council meeting. [4]

Education Policy

Charter Schools

In 2015, Flynn and his union endorsed two bills that would restrict charter schools in Rhode Island. Senate bill S0087 Sub A would freeze the local share of charter school spending and require local approval for charter schools or expansion for one year. House bill H 5160 Sub A would require local approval for new charter schools or expansion of charter schools. The bill also enacted a one year moratorium on any new charter school applications. [5]

Flynn claimed that the charter schools forced local school districts to cut staff and eliminate programs. He also alleged that the charter school systems would create parallel school districts and lead to the duplication of education programs. [6]

Teacher Tenure Reform

In 2018, Flynn wrote an op-ed opposing proposed changes to Rhode Island’s teacher tenure law. Flynn was responding to a teacher who called for eliminating tenure and seniority protections for teachers. Supporters of the changes believed the current tenure and seniority protections protected ineffective teachers and harmed students. [7]

Coronavirus

In November 2020, Flynn called for Rhode Island schools to re-close and adopt mandatory “distance learning” throughout the holiday season. [8]

Other Memberships

Flynn serves on the Rhode Island AFL-CIO and is a member of the AFT Progressive Caucus. [9]

References

  1.             “Flynn Leaves Cranston Union To Lead RI Teachers”. 2010. Johnston Sun Rise. https://johnstonsunrise.net/stories/flynn-leaves-cranston-union-to-lead-ri-teachers,54908. ^
  2.      “Flynn Leaves Cranston Union To Lead RI Teachers”. 2010. Johnston Sun Rise. https://johnstonsunrise.net/stories/flynn-leaves-cranston-union-to-lead-ri-teachers,54908. ^
  3.   “Flynn Leaves Cranston Union To Lead RI Teachers”. 2010. Johnston Sun Rise. https://johnstonsunrise.net/stories/flynn-leaves-cranston-union-to-lead-ri-teachers,54908. ^
  4.       “Francis J. Flynn”. 2020. American Federation Of Teachers. Accessed December 7. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/francis-j-flynn. ^
  5.      “A Message From Frank Flynn, RIFTHP President”. 2015. Providence Teachers Union. http://proteun.org/ptu/index.php/20-ptu-issue-of-the-month/109-a-message-from-frank-flynn-rifthp-president. ^
  6.   “A Message From Frank Flynn, RIFTHP President”. 2015. Providence Teachers Union. http://proteun.org/ptu/index.php/20-ptu-issue-of-the-month/109-a-message-from-frank-flynn-rifthp-president. ^
  7.             Flynn, Francis J. 2018. “My Turn: Francis J. Flynn: No Need To Change Teacher Seniority”. Providence Journal. https://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/20180701/my-turn-francis-j-flynn-no-need-to-change-teacher-seniority. ^
  8.             DaSilva, Melanie. 2020. “RI Teacher Unions Call For Statewide Pause Of K-12 In-Person Learning”. WPRI. https://www.wpri.com/health/coronavirus/school-updates/ri-teacher-groups-call-for-statewide-pause-of-k-12-in-person-learning/. ^
  9.             “Francis J. Flynn”. 2020. American Federation Of Teachers. Accessed December 7. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/francis-j-flynn. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (Labor Union)
    Vice President
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