The Alliance for Brookline Schools Presents
We, the Alliance for Brookline Schools, invite you to join us in support of efforts to improve Brookline Public Schools.
In 2016, out of concern over the protracted and failing negotiations between the Brookline School Committee and the Brookline Educators Union and disappointment in the School Committee—including its failure to join over 150 other Massachusetts School Committees in publicly opposing charter school expansion—a number of new and veteran local organizations came together to form the Alliance for Brookline Schools.
Two newly formed groups—the Brookline Parents Organization (BPO) and Brookline for Racial Justice and Equity (BRJE)–joined Frank Farlow and Rep. Frank Smizik of Brookline PAX, the Brookline Educators Union (BEU), and Citizens for Public Schools (CPS).* In creating the Alliance, these groups cemented their commitment to enriching public education in Brookline.
During and after the contract negotiations, the Alliance focused its attention on widespread concerns about today’s classroom experience, including: excessively rigid curricula; educators’ decreasing autonomy and morale; a decline in teaching time due to district obligations; and over-reliance on standardized testing and data collection. While these conditions adversely affect all students, those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with special needs are especially vulnerable when educators do not have the time, resources, or autonomy to address the unique needs of each student.
Among other initiatives, the Alliance has advocated for an increase in recess time that is now written into the PSB Wellness Policy; for a more holistic and age-appropriate early elementary curriculum; and for increased transparency and accountability in our school policy-making. As most parent and educator concerns are directly related to policies enacted by the School Committee, its members must be held accountable for the impact of their decisions.
In 2017, we supported two progressive candidates for School Committee. After an extensive questionnaire and interview process, we endorsed Suzanne Federspiel, a retired public-school teacher and principal, and Paul Harris, a Town Meeting member, community leader, and retired businessman—both longtime Brookline residents whose children went through the Brookline Schools. Federspiel won and now serves on the School Committee; Harris lost by just three votes.
In 2018, the Alliance endorsed three candidates: David Pearlman, a children’s rights attorney, life-long Brookline resident and Brookline Schools alumnus; Jennifer Monopoli, parent of two children in PSB and a public-school teacher in Newton; and Jim Swaim, a retired Brookline principal and long-time resident, whose children attended Brookline Schools. Pearlman and Monopoli won seats on the School Committee, while Swaim lost by only a few votes.
The Alliance is proud to have helped elect three School Committee members who are committed to transparency, excellence in teaching and learning, racial justice and equity, and the joy of learning. Their dedicated work in advocating for progressive values and an improved education for all students is beginning to make a difference in school policy-making. Moreover, they understand the paramount importance of retaining talented and experienced educators who feel valued and respected.
If you or someone you respect would like to run for School Committee, please contact us for consideration in our endorsement process, which includes significant campaign support and assistance. Nomination papers are available now at Town Hall and are due no later than March 19th. The Town’s Election is Tuesday, May 7th.
If you share our commitment to a progressive education that prioritizes students and educators, to a diverse curriculum rich in experiential learning and age-appropriate challenges, to teacher autonomy and success for all students, we ask that you join us in our mission to give progressive education a voice in Brookline.
The Brookline Parents Organization
The Brookline Educator’s Union
Citizens for Public Schools
* CPS is a non-endorsing member of the Alliance. Due to a refocusing of its organizational priorities, BRJE is no longer a member-organization; however, members of BRJE remain active within the Alliance.