Rachel Running is a School Committee candidate for Ward 8.

These are Rachael Running’s answers to questions that Malden Votes sent to all candidates. They have not been edited or abridged. This is the PDF version of these answers.

What are your current endorsements?

Our Revolution Malden; Greater Boston Labor Council; Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local Union No 17; Roofer and Waterproofers Union, Local 33; United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Local 1445; Painters and Allied Trades DC #35; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 2222

What motivates you to run for school committee?

As the daughter of two educators, I have always understood the power of teachers to change lives. My wife, Sarah, and I have been together for 20 years and we love living in Malden and being a part of the public school community. We are inspired by the other families we have met through Linden and the amazing teachers who are incredibly dedicated to our children’s success. Our neighborhood schools are places where parents and family members from all walks of life can come together to build a better community and world, and I hope my work on the school committee will help strengthen the voices of parents, teachers and students alike.

What experiences or skills have prepared you to serve on the school committee?

I am a proud union member (OPEIU Local 6) and have been a member of a union my entire working life. I serve as a union steward and help negotiate, advocate and resolve conflicts. I believe in democratic and engaged workplaces and societies, and I bring this perspective to my leadership. I have dedicated my life to working for a better world through nonprofit policy, research, and communications work, and currently work as the communications coordinator for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, which is the umbrella labor organization in the Commonwealth.

Additionally, I served for 2.5 years as the president of the board of directors for my children’s nonprofit preschool and in this capacity worked to develop leadership, expand the school, increase fundraising and broaden enrollment.

In the past two years, what School Committee actions did you support or oppose, and why?

I support the School Committee’s resolutions against arming teachers, in favor of supporting changes to our funding formula, and in favor of more recess time, among others.

What are the greatest strengths and challenges of our current school system?

Malden schools are active and diverse and our educators are dedicated and hard working. We lack adequate funding and I am an advocate for a statewide funding solution. We must figure out new ways to attract, hire and retain teachers and staff that better reflect our diverse student population.

What initiatives would you prioritize in our school system?

I would prioritize finding new solutions to hiring and retaining more diverse educators, increasing transparency and community input in decision making, working on options for more recess and active time for our students, and seeking solutions to overcrowded classrooms.

Malden has a broad diversity of students. How would you address the unique needs of various student populations? Be specific.

Malden schools are diverse with an array of socio-economic backgrounds, races, religions, ethnicities and family structures. This is an asset for our students and for our entire city.

It is essential that there is a level playing field and that all children in Malden receive the support they need to succeed. I will support a hiring model that emphasizes diversity among our teachers. I support social-emotional learning and restorative justice practices in the classroom, and support and training for our teachers and staff. It is essential for school committee members as well as all elected officials, community members and neighbors support and advocate for our immigrant neighbors, especially immigrant youth. Our current political climate and our long history of entrenched xenophobia and racism in America means that immigrants in our community are never safe. Elected officials, educators and all community members need to proactively support greater safety in our community and do everything in our power to limit the risk of apprehensions, detainments and deportations.

As a member of the LGBTQ community, I understand some of what LGBTQ youth face. Being a visible, out elected official is one way I can contribute to helping protect Malden’s LGBTQ youth. I will also advocate for their rights and safety through such measures as safe bathrooms for non-binary or trans students, training and professional development for educators, resources for queer space and a greater voice. I am proud to be part of a diverse Malden.

As a school committee member, I would advocate for anti-bias training for educators and community members and, in concert with teachers, administrators, students, parents, elected officials and other stakeholders, examine the ways implicit bias shapes policies and attitudes within our schools and then seek to find avenues to improve our systems and polices. I am and would continue to be a loud voice against hatred and an advocate for peaceful dialogue and solutions.

Do you have any priorities for the school budget? What are they, and why?

School budgets present many challenges when our funding formula is inadequate because there is never enough money to cover all the needed expenses. My approach to budget problems is to invest in our staff and educators as best as we are able because they are what make Malden schools strong. Prioritizing funding for librarians, music and the arts are important to me.

What role should charter schools have in our public school system?

I strongly advocated for and worked hard on the NO position on the 2016 ballot question #2, keeping the cap for charter schools in place in the Commonwealth. I am a firm believer in our public school system and I believe that we need to put resources into our traditional public school systems. I know some Malden families attend charters but most Malden children attend one of our five excellent traditional k-12 public schools or our high school. Our traditional public schools are set up to serve our entire, diverse population and I believe that our resources are best spent on these schools.

Charter schools are not required to be as transparent in their operation as our public schools and that is troubling to me. I believe our tax dollars should support and strengthen a system that is set up to help and benefit all Malden children.

What is your stance on the PROMISE Act?

I fully support the Promise Act. Our schools are severely underfunded and our students need this funding crisis addressed.

How can we increase parental and community engagement in school committee meetings?

Parents and community members need to feel like they are welcome and belong at meetings and that their voices are truly heard. I believe in transparent decision making and open input from the community and would love to explore avenues to make meetings more accessible and open to increase community engagement.

See Also

Click here for more information on Rachael Running
Click here to see all the responses to the Malden Votes questionnaire