Saturday, July 20, 2024

The School Committee members elected this November will address many important issues in the Cambridge Public Schools, and the candidates endorsed by Our Revolution Cambridge are well qualified to address them. Our schools continue to suffer from racial and socioeconomic gaps in student progress and racial, ethnic and economic inequity, and these candidates are committed to programs that will close the gaps. The candidates support increasing the diversity of educators and staff. They support greater participation of caregivers, students and educators in decision-making. They support excellent salaries, benefits and working conditions for educators and other public school employees. They support ending the MCAS graduation requirement and using more authentic and less punitive methods of assessment. And they support working toward a universal after-school program and continuing to expand universal prekindergarten. 

Each of ORC’s endorsed candidates brings important credentials to this work:

New candidate Andrew King grew up in Cambridge and graduated from the Cambridge Public Schools. He spent seven years working for the New York City Council, directing youth and education policy in schools in East Harlem and the South Bronx. Collaborating with youth, civic leaders and community organizations, he helped develop policies and programs on youth violence prevention, educational opportunities for marginalized youth, participatory budgeting, opposing stop-and-frisk and increasing funding for sports and other after-school programs. He holds a doctorate in education policy from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and works as an education policy researcher at Boston University. He is also on the board of Citizens for Public Schools.

Former School Committee member Richard Harding grew up in Cambridge, and he and his daughter are graduates of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Starting in 2001, he served on the committee for seven terms. He has served as vice chair, Budget Committee chair and Contract Negotiations co-chair. He is vice president of the Cambridge NAACP and is a founder of the Port Action Group, a neighborhood group focused on violence prevention. He has received the NAACP Education Excellence Award and the Cambridge Peace and Justice Award. He works at the Cambridge Public Health Department as manager of community engagement and Bipoc men’s health.

Incumbent Jose Luis Rojas Villarreal came to the United States from Mexico and received a master’s degree in international finance and economic development from Columbia University. He has two children in the Cambridge Public Schools. He was on the Amigos School Council for seven years. As chair of the Building and Grounds Subcommittee he played a major role in developing the district’s Covid health and wellness plan and safety manual, which became a model for other districts. He is also co-chair of the Budget Committee. He works as chief financial officer of Leaf, an organization that advises and finances U.S. worker-owned companies and the Mass Food Trust Program.

Incumbent David Weinstein is a former classroom teacher with a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Education, where he studied school reform and teacher leadership. He has two children in the Cambridge Public Schools. In both terms on the School Committee, he has been a strong supporter of Level Up honors-level classes for all students and has chaired the Curriculum and Achievement Subcommittee, engaging diverse stakeholders in the subcommittee’s work. He has also co-chaired the Community Relations and Communications Subcommittee. He works as assistant director of Enact, a 50-state nonpartisan civic education program based at Brandeis University.

Incumbent Rachel Weinstein is a Cambridge Public Schools parent who grew up in Cambridge and attended Cambridge Public Schools. She participated in the Building Equity Bridges Project that led to the creation of the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the district and is a consistent voice for considering issues through an equity lens. She serves as vice chair of the School Committee and co-chair of the Budget Committee. She works as chief collaboration officer for the Boston Compact, coordinating a partnership of Boston’s district, charter and Catholic Schools to improve outcomes for historically underserved populations.

We hope that Cambridge voters will vote for all of these candidates in their order of preference. Collectively, these candidates have the experience and understanding to ensure that all students develop the skills, abilities and character to function and engage with our challenging world.

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Sheli Wortis and Nella LaRosa-Waters, education committee of Our Revolution Cambridge