Cambridge Issues Vote of Confidence in School Committee, Reelects All Four Incumbents
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Cambridge voters gave high marks to their school district’s leadership, reelecting all four incumbent School Committee members seeking reelection, as well as Elizabeth C.P. Hudson and Richard Harding Jr., according to preliminary results early Wednesday morning.
The School Committee — made up of seven members, six of whom are elected at-large — develops and executes education policy across the district. The committee has recently focused on contract negotiations with the Cambridge Education Association, with discussions ongoing for more than a year.
Challengers vocally criticized the district’s current approach to educators’ contracts, while incumbent candidates cited the committee’s active discussions with the CEA and were hesitant to comment.
The 2023 election was marked by debates on how to best address equity within the district curriculum — especially in mathematics and special education. In a race defined by the scrutiny the district received over its lack of Algebra 1 in middle schools and a federal inquiry into the state’s equity in special education programs, incumbents and challengers were divided in their approaches to address these issues.
Two new faces will help shape the district’s educational policy in the coming term: Hudson, who was a strong advocate for universal Algebra 1 in middle schools during the campaign, and Harding, a former School Committee member who worked to advance higher-level math opportunities during the 2016-17 term.
Voting at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, resident Costanza Lara said she cast her ballot to help “push students to have a more rigorous curriculum with Algebra specifically — and special ed.”
Harrison Shulik said he was motivated to vote in this year’s local elections because education “affects wherever you are — your daily existence.” Shulik said he “hopefully made good choices” for his school committee selections, he said, citing diversity and equity as his key priorities.
“For the School Committee stuff I was looking at Our Revolution,” he said, referring to the national progressive organizing group that grew out of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign.
“I was looking at their write-up on the candidates there, and the folks who came from diverse backgrounds, and focused a lot on equality and equity,” he added.
The four incumbents — Rachel B. Weinstein, David J. Weinstein, José Luis Rojas Villarreal, and Caroline M. Hunter — will return to their positions on the School Committee for the upcoming term. Hunter, Rachel Weinstein, and David Weinstein worked together to introduce a September motion to establish Algebra 1 in all Cambridge middle schools by 2025.
As current members of the School Committee, they have all been involved in the ongoing contract negotiations with the CEA. Hunter was the only incumbent — and only winning candidate — to receive an endorsement from the organization.
Oscar Godeker — a junior at CRLS — said he hoped Cantabrigians listened to students like him as they arrived at the polls to vote.
“If you have a kid, I’d ask your kid because we don’t really get a vote,” he said. “I would ask them because we’re the ones being affected by decisions.”
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