Remember to Register to Vote

The deadline to register to vote in the November 5th election, here in Amherst, is this Wednesday, October 16th.

If you aren’t sure if you’re registered, click here. 

If you know you aren’t registered and wish to (you’ll need a driver’s license or a state issued ID) click here. 

For more info about Ben Herrington, Candidate for Amherst School Committee, click here. 

 

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Independence

This is my second candidacy for the position of school committee. A little over a year and a half ago, I set out to gain a seat on the school committee. While I didn’t win the election, I found a sense of pride in the fact that I ran as an independent and was able to pull in a number of folks with differing ideologies, different backgrounds, from opposite ends of the political spectrum even. It was important, to me, to focus on the ultimate goal of our school system; the students and families we seek to serve. As I have told my sons, I would rather have lost and maintained my integrity than to have sold out my core beliefs in order to win. 

Thus, I have asked Amherst Forward to remove me from the slate of candidates this PAC has decided to endorse. If any individual or group should see fit to endorse me, I would hope it is because they believe in who I am and what I stand for. I am not now, nor have I ever been, beholden to any particular group or school of thought. I am an independent entity. 

My actual position on solving our schools infrastructure issues can’t be distilled to a single line. I believe that we have to get it right this time and that we need to follow process to ensure that there is a greater consensus than last time around. I don’t believe that we have enough data to make a concrete decision as to what exactly the path forward is. We need to expand the conversations we have, not restrict them to one perspective. Like the superintendent said on March 11th, we still have to “make sure we are exploring multiple options.” Once that process has occurred, we can begin to form a clearer picture of what a new school project would look like. 

Click here for video of 3/11/19 meeting (Mike Morris discusses the MSBA process at 12:00).

 

Click here to learn more about Ben

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Where I Stand on the School Building Issue

The solution to issues regarding the environment our children learn in is complex. So too is my standpoint. While I believe, and can clearly see, that  there is a need to improve our school buildings, I still don’t have all of the information required to hold a firm position on the matter. In keeping with the MSBA reply to our last statement of interest, the solution I seek lies in a consensus that incorporates the broadest swath of viewpoints and has the greatest overall support. There is still a multitude of information  that needs to be taken into account before we push forward with any concrete plans. I wholeheartedly support seeking the financial contribution of MSBA, within their guidelines. I absolutely support the idea that we have to get it right this time. I do not concede to the idea that we have a consensus as to what our final plan will be. I am willing to expand this conversation, so that all parties affected will have satisfactory input on the matter. We are not there yet, but we are well on our way (asking the MSBA for funding is a solid first step in the right direction). My position cannot be distilled into a single sentence, simply because we don’t have all of the data necessary to finalize a plan that exhibits a consensus reached by the necessary public discourse.

I’m Running For School Committee

Yesterday afternoon, I submitted my nomination papers for the office of School Committee. I am committed now, more than ever, to lending my voice to the direction our school system will take moving forward. We need broader conversations that lead to more inclusive outcomes in terms of the policies that guide our schools. Many of the issues that we face will require us to bring a greater swath of perspectives into the fold. It is my most firm belief that I have a great deal to offer those conversations.

I am a father first and foremost. Like any other parent, I have a deep concern for my child’s educational opportunities. As someone who has been directly involved in the lives of, not just my own child, but many students in the school system, I am volunteering my service to the school committee. We can pull together and improve educational outcomes, the environments in which our children learn, and ensure a sustainable future for our great schools. This is my commitment to Amherst. This election, for me, isn’t about just winning a seat, it is about creating meaningful change and supporting the educators, support staff and students of Amherst. We will do that through responsible budgeting (morally and fiscally), enacting sustainable policies that lead to life ready students in an equitable manner, and by holding the superintendent responsible for the guidance of our schools. We can achieve greatness. We owe that to our children and to the future of our town.

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Ben Herrington: Praises African-American Read-In in Amherst

Source Hampshire Gazette: Ben Herrington: Praises African-American Read-In in Amherst

Ben Herrington: Praises African-American Read-In in Amherst

Published: 2/20/2018 5:44:57 PM
Praises African-American Read-In in Amherst 

On Feb. 1, I had the honor of participating in the National Council of Teachers of English-sponsored African-American Read-In at Wildwood Elementary School.

I was invited to read to a class of fifth-grade students and read “Ashanti to Zulu” by Margaret Musgrove. It is a book that is near and dear to me, as it was written by my father’s childhood friend. Not only was there a connection to me, but also to the students. It was written right down the street, at the University of Massachusetts.

This was one of many highlights of a day that celebrated literacy while kicking off Black History Month by engaging students and fostering cultural competency. In 1989, the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English solidified plans for a national read-in program that would increase literacy among young African-American readers by celebrating literary elements of African-American culture. Not just limited to readings, but also incorporating the arts, the program began in 1990 and continues today.

In Amherst, it was an annual tradition at Mark’s Meadow Elementary School and found its way to Wildwood via Principal Nick Yaffe. This year, along with special guests readers in each classroom, came a touching opening assembly that blended elements of traditional songs with current hits that the students could relate to.

The energy generated from the event crossed all cultural boundaries and was well received by the staff, faculty and student body. In addition to the impressive lineup of guests, the receptiveness of the students was absolutely inspiring.

The value of such a program across the entire district would be well worth the effort. It is a perfect way to kick off Black History Month by celebrating the diversity found within our public schools.

Programs like the African-American Read-In serve as a major educational asset without adversely impacting a school’s budget. The National Council of Teachers of English provides all the resources to get started and no two events need follow the same format. I would love to see more schools in the district take part in the read-in next year.

Ben Herrington

Amherst

The writer is a candidate for Amherst School Committee.

Mi Mensaje En Espanol

Decidi correr por el Comité Escolar de Amherst.

Tengo un conjunto único de habilidades para contribuir al progreso y el avance de nuestro gran sistema escolar.

Los cambios demográficos en nuestras escuelas nos obligan a adaptarnos a una cultura que va evolucionando al mismo tiempo que las necesidades de todo el alumnado.

Con líneas abiertas A que las necesidades de comunicación se mantengan con diligencia a fin de lograr resultados educativos significativos. Mi capacidad de demostrar y comunicar a través de un espectro diverso de personas me permite actuar como un puente entre los educadores, los estudiantes, los cuidadores y el comité de la escuela, y para proporcionar el alcance proactivo a todos los involucrados en el camino de la educación y el futuro de nuestros hijos.

Mi amplia experiencia en la construcción y mantenimiento de los edificios será de utilidad para evaluar y proporcionar soluciones a problemas relacionados con la infraestructura de nuestras escuelas.

Un tema que requiere atención inmediata es la condición de los edificios donde se Reúnen nuestros hijos a estudiar Fui al servicio militar como un ingeniero de combate en el cuerpo de ejército de EE.UU. de Ingenieros y, como líder del equipo de demoliciones, aprendí a estudiar con rapidez y precisión las cosas tales como la integridad estructural.

Cuando volví al mundo civil, trabajé como asistente del superintendente como desarrollador viviendas, la construcción de viviendas de una sola unidad dentro de una estricta gama presupuestaria.

Fue durante este tiempo que obtuve mis grados asociados en Periodismo y en Comunicación. Trabajé durante un tiempo en WFSB-3 en Hartford, CT, como editor de asignaciones, en la recopilación, análisis y difusión de información que se utilizará en las noticias de difusión. Después me trasladé a Amherst, donde trabajé como plomero y Capataz de Mantenimiento en un Centro de atención a largo plazo, y puse mis capacidades profesionales para usar en el apoyo a la integridad estructural y la seguridad de un edificio que fue construido alrededor del mismo tiempo que nuestras dos escuelas primarias más antiguas, (Fort River y Wildwood).

Ahora soy parte de las comunidades de Wildwood y Fort River como un miembro del equipo de custodia, y una parte de la comunidad Crocker Farm como el orgulloso padre de un niño de tercer grado. También tengo un hijo en la escuela secundaria. Tener niños en el sistema escolar y un conocimiento práctico de los ambientes en que aprenden, es lo que me ha dado la causa y la determinación de participar y prestar mis capacidades como parte de un comité de la escuela multifacética y productiva.

Algunos de los comités escolares y las juntas de educación más eficaz en todo el país, en términos de resultados y el desempeño educativo, tienden a prosperar en la diversidad de las habilidades y atributos de sus miembros.

Múltiples áreas de conocimiento y experiencia son de gran valor para determinar el camino hacia el éxito para nuestros estudiantes. Tenemos que centrarnos tanto en el tiempo como el esfuerzo y energía , el currículo y la cultura de nuestras escuelas como sea posible sin dejar de ser atento y consciente del ambiente de aprendizaje.

También es imprescindible para conseguir nuestros objetivos educacionales, tener un alcance proactivo y visibilidad dentro de las comunidades que se sienten abandonados o desconocidos por el sistema.

Me he comprometido a ofrecer mi servicio al comité de la escuela en calidad de tal, y para proporcionar la entrada que mi fondo diverso ofrece. Creo que las áreas en las que difieren de otros miembros del comité, junto con mi deseo de escuchar activamente y aceptar la experiencia de otros, para que toque de aún más mi labor, fomentará una discusión más amplia con el fin de encontrar soluciones creativas y productivas a los muchos problemas que enfrentamos en el futuro.

El 5 de noviembre, 2018, deben votar por un candidato que está listo, dispuesto y que es capaz de ayudar a construir un futuro sostenible para los hijos de Amherst.

Vota por mí!.

Benjamin Herrington, para el comité Escuela Amherst.

Gracias.