[Editor’s note: The nine candidates for the South Orange – Maplewood Board of Education participated in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and the Presidents Council last Wednesday. While the forum was videotaped by SOMa TV, because of technical difficulties the candidates’ closing statements were not recorded. The Village Green has invited all candidates to submit their closing statements. This is Madhu Pai’s statement; she is running on a ticket with Wayne Eastman and Margaret (Peggy) Freedson.]
The opinions expressed in this editorial are individual, and do not represent a position of the Board of Education.
I am running for a second term because our school district will determine the success of two things that matter greatly to me: our children and our community.
As elected officials, Board of Education members have a responsibility to make the community a better place. Our children learn in our school buildings, but they also learn from observing and engaging in the community. Three years ago, our community was torn in two over the de-leveling debates. During that time, I ran AGAINST a single solution dictate and FOR a choice and access platform with Wayne Eastman. Now, we have the opportunity to make it real. You can make it real by voting for Pai, Eastman and Freedson. You’ve seen that other candidates here just want to go back to dictating “no levels!” for all.
I believe this policy will move the district forward and bring our community together behind commonly shared goals:
- Increasing access to higher level classes for all students
- Empowering students, parents and teachers
- Improving communication so that informed choices can be made
- Ensuring that challenging and engaging curriculum and a positive learning environment are part of all K-12 classrooms
The Board of Education needs the right people to bring this vision to reality. I believe Wayne (Eastman), Peggy (Freedson) and I are those people. Now more than ever, we need Board leadership with the vision to imagine the great possibilities of this district – not people who are mired in the sins of the past.
Now, when we have a new Superintendent, new Administration and new Principals in virtually all our schools, experience with Board leadership and governance is critical to ensure flawless and timely implementation of the new policy. We also need expertise in guiding good K-12 teaching and learning, as Peggy has, to ensure this policy works in practice.
On November 3rd I hope you will vote for the slate that has the most experience and expertise to take this district from good to great – Madhu Pai, Wayne Eastman and Peggy Freedson.
Madhu Pai is a South Orange resident, parent of two children in the district, the 1st Vice President of the South Orange Maplewood Board of Education and a candidate for the Board of Education.