As a first-generation Cuban American who grew up in Scotch Plains, I always felt out of place in that community. I wanted my children to grow up speaking Spanish at home, just as I did, but live in a place that valued that type of diversity. We decided to move to Plainfield because we loved the abundant cultural diversity that is so similar to that of New York City.
As a result, one can imagine our frustration when friends ask, “Why did you move to Plainfield? What are you going to do about school?”, as if we had moved to someplace horrible, as if we had made the wrong choice for our kids.
We began attending school board meetings last winter where we learned that approximately 90% of our 11th graders cannot read at grade level. I walked away with the distinct impression that Plainfield needs change. Every day spent on our current path is another day that we continue to fail our kids.
The right path reflects one where our kids’ curriculum is updated, teachers are supported, and families can be certain that their child will receive an education that helps them thrive in an ever-changing world. We need school board members who are committed to the future and our children’s future. We need people who want to work together to ensure that the superintendent sets the right strategic direction for the district. We need leaders who recognize the distinct challenges facing our students and the particular challenges bilingual households face.
THIS ELECTION IS CRITICAL to ensuring our schools get on the right path. That is why I am writing to endorse Column 1: Carmencita Pile, Lynn Anderson-Person, and Mack Rice. They are the candidates who are committed to doing the right thing. They will speak up for the voiceless, for those with language barriers, for all our children.