184 Huron Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02141
Tel: 617-661-0729

I am honored to be serving on School Committee, and hope to serve again - since I have made a positive contribution to our schools. I have a broad mix of management experience and leadership skills. I am the candidate known for being data-driven, for continually championing higher expectations and for getting issues addressed. I am also the strongest environmental advocate. I have a record of speaking up for higher achievement for all students - those who are academically STRONG in addition to those who are struggling. I am known for understanding our budget, since I have a background in management. I live between Harvard Square and Fresh Pond, with my husband, David Rabkin and our two children, Joshua (12th grade CRLS, attended Peabody, Amigos, King Open) and Alexis, (10th, CRLS, attended Amigos & Peabody). Our children both were in CPS K-8 at the Amigos, the ISP (Peabody) and King Open schools. I was born in Chicago, where my parents chose Catholic school. When we moved to Stamford, Connecticut my five sisters and I attended public schools. My high school, Stamford High, was very much like CRLS in demographics. I was a varsity athlete (MVP in two sports), academically inclined and a little political. Afterwards, I spent a year as an exchange student in Belgium, which was formative in exposing me to another country, language, culture and education system. (And it's why I am fluent in French and can make my way in Spanish.) The first in my family to attend Harvard, I moved to Cambridge in 1976, was involved in student activism, especially in divestiture from South Africa, and wrote my thesis on feminist consciousness. After 2 years of work in New York City for a politician (Brooklyn District Attorney Liz Holtzman), I got a graduate degree from the Yale School of Management. After several years in corporate consulting at the international firm of McKinsey, I went into the non-profit and socially responsible business sector. I have run two small companies (a local composting toilet company and telephone reseller) and done consulting to a wide range of non-profits including LISC, The ICA Group, Green Century. Now my main job has been School Committee member. I am still a data driven analytically minded representative. I consistently focus on how to better use our resources.

Candidate Stances

Co-Teaching (Two Teachers) In All 6th-8th Grade Math Courses

Support Very Strongly

Of course we would all support this goal. However, that does not mean we shouldn't also have a separate accelerated Algebra class - available for 7th and 8th graders. It all depends on how effectively the teachers can differentiate. It might be that having two teachers in a co-taught classroom would be effective. If not, then we need to offer separate classes, based on preparedness. And set strong goals for more students being well-prepared. The caution for this initiative is that it will cost more - which means something else has to be cut, or the district has to get additional funding.

Full Time Cpsd Data Analyst(S) To Examine Cps Student Data

Support Very Strongly

Cambridge PUblic Schools does a lot well, and other things it struggles to do. Data analysis is one of the weakest areas in our district. I support this step - with the caution that it should be the program evaluator that we put in the budget for this year. While a program evaluator is different from a data analyst - they share a lot. I advocated strongly for the program evaluator for precisely the reason that we don't have good data analysis or program evaluation. We need them to make good policy decisions. Thus, in a way, this step has been taken - I worked hard to help make it happen, and I hope that we fill the position soon.

Fy15, Fy 16 Budget Line Items

Take A Stance

Improve Transparency And Fairness Of The Kindergarten Lottery And Enrollment Process

Take A Stance

K-5 World Language Education

Support Very Strongly

I answered the PANGEA survey- it can be found at The survey addressed mostly our bilingual immersion programs, but also included questions on World Language. I supported world language expansion for many years - I am glad that others have joined the call for more world language instruction. One reason I feel it personally is that I was an exchange student in an immersive experience, and it changed my perspective on the world. Both my children were at Amigos for 6 years - and we experienced having our kids learn another language naturally.

Keep Separated Honors Classes At Crls

Support Very Strongly

I support separate honors classes. About ten years ago the high school did away with honors classes and it was a disaster, in terms of many families opting out of the school district as a result. CRLS is now viewed positively - we should be careful before changing any major policy without full community input. Students in CP and HOnors classes are sometimes different - in preparedness, motivation, dedication. The fact that the honors classes tend to have a disproportionate number of middle class, white and Asian students is a big part of why some people want to end honors classes. Instead, I think we should look at the problem differently. We need to ask, and know, why more black, brown and poor kids are not in the honors classes. And English langauge learners and special education students - some of whome can be in honors. The reasons are likely a combination of preparedness, interest, peer group pressure, self-doubt, subconscious bias. We need to address the problem by increasing diversity of classes, instead of eliminating the classes.

Lengthening The School Day


I have a statement on this policy question (separate from any union contract issues) - see The reason I am undecided on the policy question is that it depends on so many factors. What the time would be used for, how much longer a day, to whom would it apply. And, how would the time be used? IN the absence of knowing the how long and the how and the why, it is difficult to take a position. WE also need to think about how long is appropriate, whether a longer day is good for every grade and for every student.

Separated Accelerated Algebra I Classes For 7th And 8th Graders

Support Very Strongly

I support this goal wholeheartedly since I believe it is best for all kids - those who are prepared and ready, and those for whom it is too much of a stretch now. For years Cambridge had a goal of Algebra for all, but it was meaningless - since the goal was not monitored, and very few students passed the Algebra I test at the end of 8th grade. Now, we are explicitly encouraging students to take Algebra I in 8th grade and we are assessing students in a comprehensive, open way. That should expand the number of 8th graders finishing Algebra I. The Academic Challenge policy passed a year and a half ago forbid schools from having separate classes, even in math in 7th or 8th grade. I voted against that policy (the only no vote) since I could not vote to forbid having separate classes. Our teachers cannot teach effectively to the range of students in the class. WE know that - we have data - the last decade only 10-20% of 8th graders pass into Geometry in 9th grade. Despite goals and talk of high expectations, in Cambridge the % is still, after a decade of differentiated classes, extremely low compared to other nearby towns. We need to encourage a diverse group of students to enroll in accelerated classes. However, we need to provide them - otherwise the kids who are ready to move fast with disengage or be bored. And the kids who need extra support won't get it. If we find a way to have teachers able to teach a wide range of kids in one classroom, then we could consider having heterogenous classes.

Technology Needs In Classroom

Support With Reservation

I support the use of technology in our classrooms. However, we already have lots of devices and lots of screens and computers for kids. We are lucky that we keep up our computer equipment more than most districts. I worry about relying too much on technology, hence my less than full support. Since we have a lot of technology hardware, what we need to do is ensure that we have the training and software and program goals in place, too. A danger is to have technology replace, instead of supplementing, what a teacher does. I am opposed to having kids on computer doing online learning without a strong and consistent and daily contact with a teacher.

Universal Junior Kindergarten

Support Very Strongly

Along with many colleagues, I have long championed early education. Cambridge does have a range of programs, including advocates like the 0-8 Council, the Agenda for Children, which have worked to ensure more educational experiences for young children. However, we do not yet have a universally available high quality educational program for all four year olds. One important was the report by the early education task force, a joint effort by the city, the school department and early education leaders. That report called upon us to address the needs of all Cambridge children and included a recommendation to do more for universal access, a recommendation I enthusiastically supported. I fully support universal pre-K/Junior Kindergarten, and have advocated for it strongly and will continue to do so. I am glad that many more in the community, like you all, are joining the effort to develop such a program. This year is time for us to expand access and make a commitment with specific timelines for implementing universal access to high quality educational offerings to all 4 year olds. As the parent of a child born April 3, I am acutely aware of the March 31 deadline to enter JK. We would have loved the opportunity to have two years of Kindergarten. More importantly, the research is clear that in a city with our resources we should be able to find a way to increase availability.