Lauren Bernard, Co-President
My husband and I moved to Massachusetts and to Brookline specifically in 1999. Long before I became a parent, I became an activist. Armed with graduate degrees in both History and Communications, my community service in Brookline began with the fight to preserve and rescue places of historical significance from the clutches of what seemed like (and still seem like) reckless developers in North Brookline. In the context of this involvement, I became aware of a troubling by-product of these large-scale housing developments: the overcrowding of our schools. I then began attending School Committee meetings, followed by B-SPACE meetings. I became increasingly troubled by what I heard and genuinely alarmed by the lack of leadership and decisive action in response to overcrowding in the schools.
In 2008, we became the proud parents of a son, and my commitment to children and education deepened, as I now brought a new parental perspective to my activism. In part from my concern for the future of Brookine Schools, I successfully ran for Town Meeting Member from Precinct 8 in 2013 and was re-elected to this office in 2016. In 2015 and alongside my activism and community service work, I began a new chapter of my professional life as the director of the district's largest after school program. This position has given me a unique lens onto the important and complex relationships between teachers, students, parents, and administrators.
Our son is now entering second grade at the Devotion School. Thus far, my husband and I feel that he is getting an excellent education largely because of the tremendous dedication of his teachers and in spite of the many problems in our school district: frustrated and overloaded teachers, escalating dependence on standardized teaching and testing, overcrowded schools, and possibly a contested philosophy at the heart of our school governance. I deeply desire to see my child's and every child's education flourish precisely because of our community's educational philosophy and practices and not in spite of them.
I've joined and helped found the BPO because I care passionately about how we educate our children and about our commitment to Brookline's long-standing child-centered philosophy of learning that seems to be eroding. Our teachers seek the ability and time to teach to the unique needs of each child. However, our current reliance on copious amounts of testing and assessing forces teachers to "teach to the test" instead and prevents creative and personalized teaching and learning--attributes that made Brookline Public Schools top-notch and enviable for so long. The BPO seeks to engage parents in a thoughtful and inclusive conversation on these and other issues and to bring parents' voices into the larger discussion of how best to educate our children.
Benjamin Kelley, Co-President
I am a parent, resident, and business owner in Brookline. I am a part of the BPO because I believe in the primacy of the student-teacher relationship and the incredible things that can happen in a nurturing, positive, and open learning environment where every student is valued, listened to, and given the opportunity to lead. I also believe that by working together we can create the community that we all desire.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
My wife and I moved to Brookline four years ago with our two toddlers. I had been seeing the escalation of outcome-based education in my professional life (I teach at Wellesley College) and reading about the progress of the Common Core Standards and Curriculum in America’s public schools. The lightning-fast, un-debated implementation of the Core struck me as an anti-democratic, utopian scheme. When our children began attending Runkle School, I was dismayed to see the extent to which data collection and standardized testing had already taken hold even in Brookline’s traditionally outstanding schools. Forced to spend more and more time collecting data and “teaching to the test,” the teachers were demoralized and working without a contract. Three School Committee members were connected to an NGO that promoted corporate education reform. Parents had been effectively removed from the equation and could only watch as the situation deteriorated. This is when I joined together with other concerned parents to found the BPO.