Why am I Running
Middlesex 11 deserves something other than a Democratic “yes woman” in its seat. Kay may be a nice person, but she does nothing but vote as she is told to vote by the leadership of her party. I will not be beholden to the leadership of either party, not even the one to which I belong.
Currently I am a salesperson at a retail store, but I have been a Mom, teacher, archivist and Park Guide for the NPS on the Freedom trail.
In his 1933 inaugural address Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” But that was from an era when the nation was afraid of external forces, not of our own legislative leadership that continues to behave in ways that make us afraid. And unlike our state legislators, I not only understand your fear, I share it.
What do I Fear
Fear that there are badly trained, unskilled drivers on our roads. Angry that I had to paw through my files, hunt for a child’s, or my own, birth certificate in order to get a learner’s permit or real ID, when the legislators think so little of me they would vote to allow noncitizens to show up at the Registry with potentially-forged documents and get a license.
Fear that what our children are learning is based on politics and feelings rather than fact. For instance, it has been shown that certain maps used in our schools leave out certain countries for political expedience.
Fear that well meaning teachers are putting the emotional health of our kids at risk by telling them they were born evil. I thought separation of church and state meant that original sin wasn’t taught in public schools.
Fear that my first $50.49 credit card bill for gas may be the lowest I will see this summer, not the highest.
I am running for State Representative in the Middlesex 11, Newton. I cannot promise to make our fears go away. But I promise I will try my hardest not to make them worse.
Environmental issues include more than climate change.
Recently, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held in Miller v. City of Worcester that a city may put public parkland to a completely different use without any meaningful public input. In this case it was a new high school, right next to an existing one, which will be torn down but not returned to parkland.
I believe the legislature should pass a “forever parkland” bill that would make such draconian actions illegal. Parks, even small ones, such as the one in front of the Senior Center on Walnut Street, create urban oases that help residents find peaceful moments in chaotic lives. They also give space to trees and plants that produce oxygen from carbon dioxide, something we all agree is a good idea and will abate climate degradation.
Environmental issues include more than climate change: Part 2.
With gas prices going through the roof, it is practical and obvious that Newtonites will take public transportation. In fact, recent residential projects were built based upon their proximity to public transportation. Strange then, that the MBTA would announce cutbacks in trips on most, if not all, rail lines. The reasons for this include “staffing shortages” due to lack of dispatchers, and engineering problems at Haymarket and Government Center stations involving the beams supporting everything above the subway tunnels.
The “T” has, for decades, hired expert planners to run our public transit system. Almost to a one, he or she has come from another large city transit system and finds him/herself shocked by the age of the MBTA’s cars and tracks. Yes the “T” is old. This is not stunning news to any local resident.
I believe the legislature, which to a large extent controls the “T,” should encourage riders with appropriate expertise and training to become dispatchers, as well as take on the challenge of running the system. Surely there is one college professor, one local engineer, or one MBTA worker who takes the Red or Green, Orange or Blue line daily and has better improvement ideas than an overpaid outsider who does not understand the system and its riders.
I am a fully certified teacher in the Commonwealth and taught in both Newton high school, before pursuing my interest in archival science.
In 1993 the Democratic legislature led by Thomas Birmingham and a Republican Governor, Bill Weld, achieved what no one thought they could and pushed through the Education Reform Act of 1993. The bill took away the burden of paying for schools though local property taxes and raised income taxes to over 5 percent, which was then directed to state coffers for distribution back to the cities and towns. This was intended to make education more equitable throughout the Commonwealth. The quid pro quo was that all high school students would have to pass a standardized test to prove the money was well spent.
In preparation for implementation, groups of educators, parents and curriculum experts worked on the curriculum standards for grades K-12. This was an enormous task that created some of the best developmentally-appropriate and fun curricula in the world. I have heard that even as Massachusetts has abandoned these standards, other states have picked them up. Sadly, their student test scores on nationally-used standardized tests now exceed ours.
I believe that the Commonwealth’s schools should return to the standards we worked so hard to create. Teachers unions have stated that they do not like the tests, but study after study has shown that simply being in school will allow a student to score ‘proficient’ on the MCAS.
Returning to a standardized curriculum would leave little time for inappropriate political or cultural speech, and would assure that our schools remain age- appropriate learning centers.
I have a general answer to the teachers’ unions and others who oppose student testing. Remember that these standards were part of a spending and taxing formula that changed the way Massachusetts taxes its citizens. If we are not fulfilling the second part of the bargain (MCAS tests, to assure educational success), there is little reason to fulfill the first (funding the schools with public tax money).
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