David Weinstein for School Committee, 2017
A Cambridge resident for 16 years, David Weinstein has been a classroom teacher in a range of public school settings and a scholar of education, and now works in higher education. He is the only candidate who has served as a full-time public-school teacher, having taught high school English and K-12 art. He has also worked with special learning needs students and as a substitute teacher at the New York School for the Deaf. He is married and has a daughter in fifth grade and son in kindergarten in Cambridge Public Schools, and says he has been deeply engaged with the district, serving on an elementary school council and principal search advisory committee and as a representative to the Cambridge Citywide School Advisory Group.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus on school and teacher leadership and school reform. He has been a communications professional in a number of settings, specializing in outreach, engagement, communications and program management of projects in education-focused nonprofit organizations and is now a communications specialist in the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University and coordinator of that center’s national program, ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation.
Expand public junior kindergarten to include all four year olds – in developmentally appropriate classrooms. Controlled choice is an essential part of our school system, but can be a confusing entry point. We must continue to do all we can to improve the communication and support for families around the process and improve the functioning of the system itself. And we should be ready to build on the early readiness universal pre-k would foster by ensuring sufficiently small class sizes in the early grades.
Strengthen our upper schools (grades 6-8) by supporting teacher collaboration and planning between schools, hiring full-time family liaisons and implementing evidence-based social and emotional learning programming.
Guide the superintendent’s implementation of our new strategic plan, so all of our schools have the resources they need to serve our children well. As a member of the committee I will be dedicated to working collaboratively with our teachers, administrators, fellow committee members, city councillors, students and families to ensure we provide the best possible education to every child in our wonderfully diverse community, and my graduate studies of school leadership and school reform and my experience in several school districts will inform how I approach this important responsibility.
Meet and exceed our goal of 30 percent teachers of color in our schools by hiring, supporting and retaining excellent teachers. All of our children benefit from learning from excellent, committed teachers with a range of lived experience. Teachers of color are role models to children of color and to other children.
Focus on closing the opportunity gap with a laser-focused multi-pronged approach. Making progress toward this goal helps all students, and many of the specifics I’ve outlined in my platform support this effort. There should be a standing item on the School Committee agenda focused on the opportunity (or “achievement”) gap.
Ensure all CRLS graduates are prepared to succeed – in college, in careers, as citizens.
Hire full-time family liaisons for each of the upper schools. Our elementary schools and high school already have these professionals. Family engagement is just as important in grades 6 through 8 as it is before and after. This should be part of a comprehensive approach to supporting and strengthening the upper schools, also involving support for teacher collaboration, fostering planning between schools, and implementing evidence-based social and emotional learning programming.
Other issues include improving communication and participation by the community; hiring enough teachers and guidance counselors at the high school so its growing student population has reasonable access to the courses they need and want to take, and so guidance caseloads are small enough that all students get the support they need during high school and as they transition to colleges and careers.
Compiled from the candidate’s own words and statements in publicly available sources.
Weinstein’s statement to the Cambridge Education Association is here.
This is Weinstein’s second run at the committee – and it’s his best. He brings a lot of thoughtful concerns and insights to his campaign, and his classroom experience in grades K-12 in various settings, combined with his experiences as a parent of young Cambridge students, is key to his vision. His work doing communications outreach in a number of nonprofit settings, including education, could also be a valuable asset to the committee. He is generous to his fellow candidates, but this time is also willing and able to emphasize his own assets, which include a deep understanding of effective differentiated learning and the importance to all students of having non-segregated classrooms. Weinstein joins Patty Nolan and Emily Dexter in focusing on quality program evaluation – and in knowing what that is – and tweaking programs to bring real changes to students that don’t have years to wait for improvement.