Annual Town Election

Monday, March 5th, is the date to vote in the annual Town election. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Find precinct and polling locations HERE.

All of the town-wide seats for Town Moderator (Deborah Brown), Board of Selectman (Jill Hai), School Committee (Kathleen Lenihan & Deepika Sawhney), and Planning Board (Ginna Johnson & Richard Canale) are not contested races, but that is no reason not to vote for them. They are well-prepared and excellent choices for the seats they are running for and our Town will be well-served by them. Join me in thanking them for stepping up to serve.

The contested races are happening further down the ballot, in the seats for Town Meeting within the precincts. In our Precinct 1, there are eight candidates for seven seats.* Some of the names of those I’m recommending are further down the ballot, so please be sure to look for them (specimen ballot HERE):
Joel A. AdlerSandhya BeebeeSudhir RanjanMary Ann StewartJudith L. Zabin Yours truly has been…

State Education Laws Enacted in 2017

Sharing a document from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: the following laws relate to the Department and were enacted in 2017 (in chronological order):


An Act relative to the Mohawk Trail Regional School District and the Hawlemont School District: Chapter 31 of the Acts of 2017 (see H.2859), effective June 30, 2017. This is follow-up legislation to a 1993 law filed to confirm the Mohawk Trail Regional School District's budget process and their right to approve future amendments in accordance with law and the terms of their agreement after the participating towns approved a change in their regional agreement.

An Act relative to language opportunity for our kids (LOOK): Chapter 138  of the Acts of 2017 (see H.4032), Sections 47-54 inclusive, shall take effect on May 1, 2018. The new LOOK law establishes language acquisition programming flexibility for districts and oversight requirements for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Provides …

Fair Share Amendment

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) heard arguments yesterday on the Fair Share Amendment. Opponents of the measure want the justices to determine whether or not the proposal falls within the scope of ballot initiatives, as specified in Article 48 of our state's constitution.

Our schools lack the foundation funding necessary to provide all students with a well-rounded, quality education that includes the arts, civics and media literacy, and athletics; those who face the greatest challenges require even more support. When they graduate, students are forced to take on enormous debt for a degree from our public colleges and universities. We need to reinvest in quality public education so that all students have access to the well-rounded education and affordable college they need to succeed.

I was proud to be asked by the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition to be one of ten original signers of the Fair Share Amendment because improving the quality of the education our young people receive, an…

Charter School Redux

We're nearing the end of "charter school season" and await the recommendations of the Acting Commissioner to see if any are advanced to the Board for approval later this month.

Some criticize charter schools for not educating all children, those with special needs or who are English language learners, in particular. Others say that charters and core public schools shouldn't be compared because the rules are different. Still others say the problem is with how charters are funded.

But if you go back to the original law (and it's been amended several times since enacted) one thing is clear: Where core public schools have always been about taking in and educating all children, charter schools never were -- and that was supposed to provide their edge.

"Labs of innovation" meant that they were not going to take everyone on purpose. Instead, they would take a small number of students so that they could try something new and different from what was offered in the …

A personal connection with the arts

My parents were musicians.

Mom was a concert pianist and organist. One of her gifts was that she could read any piece of music put in front of her. She loved playing Debussy, Schumann, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bach, and Franck. She was frequently called upon to accompany vocalists and instrumentalists for upcoming recitals and auditions.

Dad was a sax, clarinet, and boom-chick piano-player who played in a dance band in high school, gigging on weekends with pals from his small town school. One of his gifts was that he could play anything by ear. He played at the piano during down time, weekends mostly, after he had finished chores with my younger brothers in tow. He enjoyed writing original vocal and instrumental compositions, including vocal arrangements for his barber shoppe quartet and for the religious in the convent on the far side of the fairgrounds in the small rural coal-mining town in Pennsylvania where we lived until I was ten.
I grew up in a time when arts education was the pri…

Economy in the Commonwealth

Reports on public transportation (specifically, the breakdown of public transit), appear in local and regional news on a regular basis. Most people see economic growth as the number one reason to invest in our transportation system. A comprehensive public transit system for all communities would include improvements to our existing transit infrastructure, as well as expanding smart, transit-oriented development that's affordable.

Transportation infrastructure isn't just about economic growth, it also overlaps with our affordable housing, education, climate change, and energy goals and we should seek to adopt the holistic model of "complete streets" when considering what those community goals should be.

Employers argue that a strong economy doesn't exist without a strong workforce and see investment in vocational technical education as a key to keeping the Commonwealth competitive.

We need an energy infrastructure that reduces pollution, promotes clean energy, red…

The State's FY18 Budget

We're less than halfway through the Fiscal Year (FY18), and, as I was re-reading MassBudget's FY18 budget analysis, I thought it worth noting a few of their key points.

Early Education: Quality early education and care helps prepare our young children for success in K-12 education and allows them to thrive more generally. Early education and care is also a critical work support for parents with young children, by offering safe and reliable care for kids while parents provide for their families. Funding for early education is -22% since 2001.
K-12 Education: Providing an excellent education to all children in Massachusetts supports future generations in the Commonwealth while contributing to our economy over the long term. Chapter 70 education aid is the main program for delivering state support to local districts across Massachusetts, and ensuring that schools have sufficient resources to provide the necessary services to all students.*The current (FY18) budget increased Chapter…