Arlington Advocate Weekly Questions:
Question 1. (Published February
27) Why do you feel like you are
the best candidate to be on the School Committee?
The school committee doesn’t oversee the building project; that is the responsibility of the building committee established by the Massachusetts School Building Authority. I don’t have any particular concerns, as I have confidence in the building committee’s ability to manage the project. The members include folks with an understanding of what we need in a successful high school, as well as others with prior experience in completing successful town building projects.
For the school
committee, we will need to focus on the experiences our
students have while attending school adjacent to a
construction site. We must make sure the high school is
sufficiently resourced to provide a safe environment
conducive to learning. We will rely on the
superintendent and high school principal, who serve on
the building committee, to keep the high school
community informed about how we must work around the
Twelve years ago, the student population in Arlington included 20% children of color; now it’s 30%. We understand our community is becoming more racially diverse, even as we are becoming less economically diverse.
We need to strive to employ educators who reflect our student population, for obvious reasons. Research shows that students have a better school experience when they attend schools with teachers who look like them. Less obvious, but equally important, is that our students are preparing for a life in a global society.
This is a statewide challenge.
The biggest barrier is the Massachusetts teacher test,
which discourages qualified out-of-state educators from
considering a career in Massachusetts. The test is an
expensive barrier for applicants, and isn’t a valid or
useful measure. The Arlington School Committee sponsored
a resolution to abolish this test, with was approved by
last year’s general assembly of the Massachusetts
Association of School Committees.
Question 4. (Published March 19)
Arlington School Committee
for challenging times.
Arlington Town Election Rescheduled:
Vote in person or return mail ballots by
Saturday, June 6.
We find ourselves in challenging times. It’s much easier to close down a school system than to bring it back.
We need an experienced,
collaborative school committee to work
together to make the difficult decisions
Paul Schlichtman is a past president of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC). Attracting educators of color is not just an Arlington problem: it is a challenge faced by every district in the state. That’s why Paul authored a resolution that was adopted by the MASC delegate assembly in 2019 to advocate for the elimination of the state’s teacher testing program. The tests are expensive (the applicant pays the fee to Pearson), and don’t provide a valid measure of teaching ability. They are a barrier for out-of-state educators who might consider working in Massachusetts.
Paul Schlichtman is a
member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary
& District Accountability & Assistance
Advisory Council. He spent
the past 20 years analyzing school and district
performance and accountability
data to help principals and teachers to understand the
levers of change that improve
He understands that measures like the MCAS are just indicators that inform our work, not desired outcomes that drive our decisions. Too much emphasis on MCAS and accountability scores takes time and resources away from art, music, world languages, social studies, social-emotional learning, and other essentials not tested by the state.
Looking for a data-informed school committee member? Paul built this interactive map and documented the enrollment growth in Arlington to support the 2019 operating override and high school project. Here's the map that shows a six year increase of 1,036 students; the 21.13% increase is the largest of any municipality with a student population over 100 children.
Watch Paul's one-on-one conversation with James Milan of ACMi, a 15 minute talk about data, the superintendent search, the pandemic, and the advantage of having a highly-functional, collaborative school committee.
Watch the ACMi School Committee debate & read the transcript.
in touch with Town
of Arlington COVID-19 updates here. During
the COVID-19 emergency, the Secretary of the
Commonwealth advises that no-excuse
early voting is available now.•Download
the application here,
and return it to the Town Clerk's office,
Arlington Town Hall
"The Arlington Public Schools will ensure
that every graduate is prepared to enter and
complete a post-secondary degree program, pursue a
career, and be an active citizen in an ever-changing
world by offering a rigorous, comprehensive,
standards-based and data-driven K-12 system of
curriculum, instruction, and assessment that
integrates social, emotional and wellness support."
Minuteman Regional Technical
Vocational School Committee - Member (1997-2001)
Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, School
& District Accountability & Assistance
Advisory Council, M.A.S.C. Representative
Did you know?
Arlington is a diverse,
fiscally prudent, high-achieving district.
For "higher academic
standards, transparent hiring protocols, and strict
accountability measures... Paul Schlichtman... the best
chance for a cleansing breath of fresh air." Lowell
Sun, June 25, 2013.
2020 Virtual Campaign Kick-Off
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Paul Schlichtman • 47 Mystic
Street - 8C • Arlington MA 02474 • 781.641.3401
Last update Friday,
May 15, 2020
Paul is married to Rieko Tanaka, a classically trained pianist, who became a U.S. Citizen in 2017. They both serve as Town Meeting Members representing Precinct 9.