I value the education my children and I received from the Framingham Public Schools. My father worked and was dedicated to this school district for a long time and has an elementary school named in his honor. When my children went to school here I was an active parent serving as president of town wide PTO. Today, I work in public education, both as a principal of a small middle school and as assistant superintendent of the District. Both personally and professionally I value public education. If a charter commission is approved, school governance is an area that is going to be of critical importance in the debate.
There is much talk about city government and in a traditional city environment the Mayor could theoretically be chairman of the school committee. I have professional colleagues that work in such circumstances and from their experiences I can see it is dramatically different than what I have experienced professionally or what we see here in Framingham. So if some form of city government is proposed, how this issue is handled might be make or break in terms of getting a new government approved.
Although I do not instinctively look favorably on the mayor as chairman scenario, it is also not that I do not want the schools to be accountable. We have to find a way to makes schools accountable both fiscally and educationally, while simultaneously allowing for educators to be the primary leaders of our schools. I do not propose to know the best solution today. I will continue to have an open mind if elected, but this is an area of real concern to me in arriving at an acceptable proposal. I do not think it is necessarily a city versus town issue, but it must be a focal point when the commission starts its work.
Much of the discussion I have heard at forums or read online has dealt with the Town Meeting and executive aspects of government. These are critical areas. Only a handful of candidates at best have talked about schools. I hope we can talk a bit more about it before the campaign ends. School governance is also a very critical component of a proposed government.
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