CCA for School Committee
Cambridge Elects: I
A Cambridge election lacking the usual goal of throwing the rascals out is, at best, a dull affair. Yet this year it is an important affair, for the present School Committee, dominated by a majority from the Cambridge Civic Association, has quietly and effectively improved local educational standards. There are no sensational issues, no smears, no charges of graft; there is just the simple issue of keeping good government forces in power.
The Cambridge Civic Association, one of the oldest reform groups in New England, is battling to retain its School Committee majority. Formed ten years ago when local politics was content and corrupt, the CCA has championed good, non-partisan slates. Its Endorsement Committee has screened all candidates, and while there have undoubtedly been well-qualified independents, a CCA endorsement commits a candidate to a platform of real reform. Other good government groups all over the country will be watching to see how the CCA fares in this year's election.
Besides the basic issue of continuing CCA control, this year's election centers, quitely, on the question of merit or politics in the appointment of teachers. When four CCA candidates took office two years ago, famous "Family Night" was only one year in the past; four "independents" had just pushed through school appointments for four job-hungry relatives, and Cambridge was angry. In the past two years, by contrast, the School Committee has restored competitive examinations for all appointments and promotions.
A merit system and other accomplishments--like the recruitment of many new teachers and the building of new school plants--are difficult to change into good slogans. But good candidates can often compensate for a lack of good slogans, and the CCA slate this year contains six candidates worthy of election.
Judson T. Shaplin, assistant professor of Education and associate dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Education, is the only incumbent on the CCA roster. Supposedly, Shaplin is a "sure win," for he has made a good record in two years; nevertheless, he needs every vote he can get, for shoo-ins have often found themselves shooed out fairly quickly. Each of the other five candidates firmly supports the CCA's professional approach to local school problems, and each deserves support: Gaetan R. Aicllo, Walter E. Doherty, Jr., Anthony Galluccio, Robert P. Horan, and Catherine T. Ogden. Only by electing these people and prolonging CCA control, can Cambridge citizens make sure that school progress and school reform continue.