Raab: SOMA 2015 Will Move Board of Ed in a New Direction

by The Village Green
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[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 SOMAtv, 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 Marian Raab’s statement; she is running on a ticket with Elissa Malespina and Shannel Roberts.]

I am proud to be running with Shannel Roberts and Elissa Malespina—Team SOMA 2015—and we are proud to be the first slate in nearly a decade to be endorsed by SOMEA—the South Orange/Maplewood teachers’ union.

SOMEA said they were moved to endorse us because of our “strong commitment to students, teachers and public education.” In a nutshell, our platform focuses three critical areas which we like to call the 3 “Cs.” They are:

  1. Communication—So all stakeholders can understand and help develop smarter educational policies.
  1. Common Sense—To admit when something is not working and change course.
  1. Courage—To ask the tough questions so we can make sound decisions together as a community to move forward in the best interests of our children.

If elected to the Board of Education, Ms. Roberts, Ms. Malespina and I will also increase the number of board meetings to twice a month like almost all of our surrounding districts. We cannot effectively govern this district when meetings start 30 to 60 minutes late and then stretch into the next day.

Our current board voted at almost 1:00 a.m. to remove the failed International Baccalaureate (IB) program from the middle schools. Decisions of this importance should never be voted that late.

Make no mistake—we are an opposition slate. We want to bring new voices and move this board in a new direction–a direction that puts our children first and not only listens to parents, but actually HEARS what they say and makes a good-faith attempt to act upon their concerns.

And finally, I can’t stress enough about how much your vote counts—in this race and every race. I’m not ashamed to say that I lost my last election as Democratic District Leader in Maplewood by one vote! So thank you for being involved citizens who clearly care about public education and thank you for VOTING on Nov. 3.



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