SALEM, Mass.—The Salem School Committee is perhaps the greatest oversight board, governing the direction of the entire public school system. And, that responsibility is vast. Likewise, it sets forth the establishment of criteria to determine goals and the success of its’ subsequent policies.
Although there have certainly been strides in student achievement and inclusive policy initiatives, it should be of no surprise to anyone that the public schools should continue to do better—and that ultimately falls on the School Committee.
The Rainbow Times’ editorial staff specifically sought out candidates that we believe put individual student needs, especially those most marginalized and often left without a voice, to the forefront. This criterion has not only been met with words but also through demonstrated and proven effective action.
The school committee is tasked with difficult decisions, decisions that are life-altering for students and their families. Policies established to protect students, provide safe spaces and uplift their voices, give students validation for who they are, leading to greater individual success, or equally, poor policies can dismantle a sense of self-worth. The intricacies involved in such decisions are vast and impact the entire district—all of Salem’s students, not just some.
As each one of us, there is no “one-size fits all” approach that will be effective to meet the needs of all our students. Whether a student’s first language is English or Spanish, whether they or their parents are members of the LGBTQ community, whether they come from a privileged background or not, should all be considered when policies are developed, when decisions are being made, and when the school system takes a stance on social justice issues that impact the overall health of our community. Policies should continue to be developed that are fair and give all students equal access to the possibility of success.
After considerable deliberation, research, debate, and interviews, The Rainbow Times is pleased to announce its Salem School Committee endorsements. This election cycle, we stand proudly with Kristin Pangallo, Beth Anne Cornell, and Mary Manning.
We believe all of these candidates will investigate further to better the system, challenge the status quo, suggest and implement policies that protect and advance all of our students while holding themselves accountable to the great charge they carry.
Remember to vote on November 5.