With Abundant Patience & a Sense of Irony

It’s Action Time!

Election day in Amherst is April 3rd. Let’s get out the vote. Let’s make a difference in the education of our children. Get involved in electing to the Amherst School Committee individuals who will represent your interests and concerns. There are two seats open and four candidates. Amilcar Shabazz is one of those candidates and if you want to know more about him and where he stands read the pages and posts on this site. This is where his campaign will post news and views, information and opinions that matters in this election. Dr. Trevor Baptiste is Shabazz’s campaign manager and he can be reached at trevorbaptiste578@gmail.com. Here is a message from him about an upcoming meeting:

Good evening all:
I am reaching out to each of you to invite you to a planning meeting set for 6:30 Monday Feb. 20, 2012.  The agenda will be  strategies for community activism including getting  Amilcar Shabazz on the school committee and  of equal importance, the proposed language of a warrant article for after-school program funding to be put up for vote at the next Amherst town meeting. Current school committee chair Irv Rhodes will be in attendance to outline the procedure for bringing proposals to town meeting. The community room we are meeting in is located inside Butternut Farm Apartments, 12 Longmeadow Drive, Amherst, MA 01002.  Go all the way down driveway, and the room is by the play structure.  Refreshments will be provided and the space is wheelchair accessible. Please come and participate in the spirit of having our collective effort used for serving the underrepresented in our own community.
Foward Ever Backwards never!

____________________________________________________________________

Here is the letter I submitted for appointment to the School Committee. I received one vote on two ballots, but a decision had been made by a majority of the two voting groups to appoint someone who would not be a candidate for a regular term in the April election.

February 1, 2012

Dear members of the Amherst School Committee & Select Board,

Through this letter let me express my interest in filling the vacant position on the Amherst School Committee. Briefly I will explain my motivation in seeking this appointment as well as say a little about the experience that I would bring to the Committee if selected. Since 2007, I have been directly involved in the Amherst Regional Schools. I moved to Amherst with a son who entered the high school and graduated this past June. I have another son who is a first grader at Crocker Farm Elementary after attending preschool and kindergarten there.

My central motivation for offering to serve on the school committee is in wanting the nearly 4,000 students in our schools, including my seven-year old, to receive the very best education possible. My foremost goal is that we continue to “extend to all children the opportunity to reach their full potential & to lead lives as participants in the political & social life of the commonwealth & as contributors to its economy” [archives.lib.state.ma.us/actsResolves/1993/1993acts0071.pdf]. I am willing to put shoulder to the wheel to help our schools make improvements toward that end.

I am the son of a woman who was a public school teacher from 1958 until her retirement almost four decades later. In the late 1980s, when I studied for my master’s degree in history, I also took classes, exams, and teacher training work to earn from the State of Texas a permanent Texas Educator Certificate in Secondary Social Studies in 1991. As a substitute teacher, I taught in grades from the first to the 12th. I have taught at the college level for more than three decades and the emphasis of my research has been in the area of educational policy and history.

My priorities for serving on the Amherst School Committee reflect those that have shaped my career as a scholar and teacher: advocating for equity and social justice within the academy and the larger society; advancing historical knowledge both within and outside academia; and expanding students’ access to and appreciation of high levels of intellectual engagement. In addition to my lifelong commitment to teaching, my experiences as the chair of an academic unit at UMass Amherst have made me keenly aware of the importance of the school committee’s role in the budget process. If appointed to the Committee, I hope to make use of these professional experiences to help improve our schools. My background gives me the essential ingredients needed to act as a representative of the entire community and to help establish “educational goals & policies for the operation of the school system” [arps.org/node/280].

Regardless of your decision, let me thank you all for your service as Select Board members and School Committee members. I look forward to answering any questions you might have for me and of working for the best education possible for our children.

Amilcar Shabazz, Ph.D.

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