For the kids: The goal of the School Committee must be to make equality of opportunity, academic excellence and student safety Job 1, for every child. Our focus needs to be on rigorously preparing all of our children for the complex, diverse, technical, and competitive world that awaits them. It starts with allowing our wonderful educators to do what they do best—teaching. That effort cannot and should not sugarcoat the intolerance and injustices of the past or exclude particular points of view. At the same time, it must bring students together, emphasize achievement for all, and avoid the divisive political agendas that foster division and
threaten the safe learning environment that we want and need for our children. I seek to get politics out of the School Committee.
Just a few short years ago, Wellesley Public Schools were well known and celebrated for academic rigor and the fostering of critical thinking. In 2014, our High School ranked #4 in the Commonwealth. Today, sadly, we have seen that ranking drop steadily and precipitously to #26. The Middle School ranks even lower, suggesting further decline ahead. Our kids deserve better.
For the parents: Parents deserve transparency from the Committee. Too often, the Committee and Administration are clearly dismissive of the legitimate concerns raised by parents on a host of issues ranging from curriculum to invasive surveys to charging exorbitant sums for public records. The Committee needs to listen and, when possible, respond to parental comment. This is evident in the chronic enrollment decline in the system. Parents are voting with their feet. No enterprise can hemorrhage customers and hope to be successful. My agenda for every meeting and office hour will include listening to parents, encouraging them to be the full participants and informed stakeholders that they deserve to be and making the work of the Committee as transparent and responsive as possible.
For the taxpayers: Did you know that our schools account for almost half of the entire Town budget? School quality is expensive, and deservedly so. That is precisely why every taxpayer in Town must demand accountability from the Committee and a businesslike approach. School quality also drives home values. We are constantly reminded of that each time we are asked for
greater investments in public education. Yet, we seem to be constantly paying more and getting less in terms of return on investment. At some point, we risk killing the “Golden Goose” and property values will decline. The schools are important to all taxpayers, regardless of whether they have direct skin in the game in the form of students. We must respect that fact and work with other Town boards to be the best possible stewards of public funds.
My background: First and foremost, I am a parent. My eldest is a proud WHS graduate. My youngest is in elementary school at Sprague. I am active in the Sprague PTO. I have proudly served in elected office in Town, being a member of the Planning Board for 5 years. I also served on the Town’s Wetlands Committee. I know how Town government works—or doesn’t—and there will be no learning curve on that score. I am an attorney, practicing in Town, specializing in environmental and land use matters. I have a lifelong commitment to education at all levels, having been a former public school teacher and then serving as an Overseer and on the Board of Trustees of the Boston Architectural College. I am pro bono counsel to the Wellesley Conservation Land Trust and I am a founding member of the group Wellesley Concerned Parents. I am a product of public school education. That strong foundation served as a springboard to an Ivy League education and has informed my efforts in life. I want the same thing for my kids and all of the children of Wellesley and I am willing to fight for it. I ask for your vote.
To join in the effort or to ask any questions, contact me a Nealforsc@gmail.com
Candidate for Wellesley School Committee