Time for change on the Princeton Board of Education: Vote in a new majority

While I’m thrilled to see so many candidates for the Princeton Board of Education, I fear splitting the vote, i.e., not changing anything. Voters have tried for years to elect a community-supportive board of education majority. The odds are tough because the board of education’s mailing list dependably covers a majority of those who actually vote.

This year’s vote is all mail-in. In-person votes will be provisional votes, subject to rejection on technicalities. If you want your vote to count, vote the moment your ballot arrives. Call the Mercer County Board of Elections the following week (609-989-6773) to be sure it’s counted, or you can check online. You can also drop your mail-in ballot at a special county drop box in front of the municipal building at 400 Witherspoon Street in Princeton.

Because this board of education needs a new majority, ready to work on January 1, I have listened for all right candidates’ views on the board of education’s 2018-2020 accomplishments. Here’s a review:

– Although Cranbury residents pay less in school taxes while you pay more and more, the board of education majority voted to accept Cranbury’s 280 students for no additional contribution, and to expand Princeton High School to accommodate them.

– The majority passed that $29 million bond for “critical” fixes including $530,000 for a concession stand with six toilets (for sports events at Princeton High School, although the industry standard is 1-2 toilets) (https://www.mrcesspool.com/plan_event.htm), outdoor water fountains (useless in winter), and baseball dugouts.

Although board of education presidents start public meetings by promising “joy and learning for all students,” opportunity gaps persist for all but the luckiest. Teachers and parents alike report abuses — failures to see systemic shortcomings that might require little to resolve. Yet the current majority supported a “chain of command” that sends complaints to the top, where teachers and families report that they got no response.

The board of education’s officials are elected to be informed leaders, to advise and, yes, supervise the superintendent of schools. Yet one member of the majority recently voted “yes” on an important issue, claiming not to “know enough” about the issue to vote “no.”

It’s time to fill all three available seats for the board of education that doesn’t accept received wisdom with new members. The board of education has 10 members. It needs a majority of six who are sensible, independent, and therefore unbeatable, and fix the gaps in opportunity and achievement for students of all colors, of all income and skill levels. The schools know which children are suffering because they alone know every child’s grades. And they need not just to nod heads and agree, but to change.

Pick your three candidates in the row of 8 for the board of education — it’s not at the top of the page. Use all three of your votes: your choices affect your town, your taxes, your neighbor’s child.

Three seats, three votes — a strong new majority.

I’m watching for three candidates who will think and act fairly, intelligently, and with sensitivity for those most in need. Our country and our economy need schools that meet our promise: lives of joy and learning for all students.

Mary Clurman
Harris Road


  1. Excellent letter! The real problem is that in the absence of ranked voting, votes will be spread around, and studies of elections have shown that incumbent candidates, with a core level of support and name recognition, have a distinct advantage. It would be much better if some of the new candidates would drop out to ensure that the remaining challengers have a good chance of being successful, but that is unlikely to happen.

    1. We need more specific statements of their positions on current issues, not just general statements that most candidates have provided so far. And endorsements of a specific candidate slate would also help.

  2. I do not understand “Anonymous” when saying “it would be better if some of the new candidates would drop out to ensure that the remaining challengers have a good chance of being successful”. I would like “Anonymous” to elaborate on that. Who are the new candidates who should drop out in his/her opinion and why? It seems like there are “new candidates” and “challengers”, who are in each list and how was it determined?
    As a tax payer, I would love to be enlightened.
    Thanks in advance for clarifying.

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