I believe a fair and just public education system is critical for an equitable, thriving society. As State Representative, I will fight for the equal opportunities of all children in Massachusetts and advocate for the resources so that every child can learn and thrive. I am committed to fostering an education system that provides students with skills for the modern day while supporting students with diverse needs and interests; we should be funding the continual adaptation and improvement of our schools to ensure that students’ needs are being met. I believe that education is the basis for each individual’s success and the future success of our Commonwealth; I stand for building a robust and innovative public education system that supports our future.
Funding Our Schools
I believe we must fulfill our Constitutional promise to all students in our Commonwealth to provide a high-quality public education. As State Representative, I will fight to implement the recommended changes in our Chapter 70 funding formula so that our communities have what they need to ensure all students receive a high-quality education. This includes appropriate support for students who live in rural communities, who are English Language Learners, and who have special needs or learning disabilities. For too long, these students have been underserved in our state. As State Representative, I will bring together parents, educators, youth and legislators to make sure all of our kids get the funding they deserve.
It is shameful that there are teachers who have to pay for necessary school supplies out of their own pocket, while at the same time struggling to afford health care costs and support their families. Having a great teacher can absolutely transform a child’s life; we all know this. Most of us have had at least one teacher who made a difference in our lives. When we don’t provide teachers what they need to survive and care for their families, we make it harder for them to be fully engaged with our children and we also create unnecessary barriers for them in providing our kids the lessons they need to learn, grow, and succeed.
Teachers have one of the most important and challenging jobs in the world. That is why, as State Representative, I will advocate for budgets that ensure our teachers have meaningful benefits and dignified wages that allow them to support themselves and their families.
High Stakes Testing
High stakes testing limits teacher creativity and student initiative. Rather than divert learning time, energy, and resources towards preparing students for standardized testing, we should focus our efforts towards funding arts, music, 21st century skills, outdoor, and experiential learning opportunities for our students. Our kids should be given the opportunities to explore the world and not spend countless hours feeling anxious about test preparation.
We should have evaluation methods that ensure students are receiving high quality education with appropriate community supports, but unfortunately our current system seems to do a better job predicting zip code than it does evaluating the effectiveness and learning goals students are achieving. As State Representative, I will collaborate with my colleagues and with community members to ensure we have evidence-based evaluation systems for our schools that will help minimize disparities and better inform our educational approach, rather than limiting the potential of both students and teachers.
I support keeping the cap on charter schools and increasing transparency around charter schools in our state. I believe that we should encourage innovation and creativity among our schools, but that this should not come at the expense of other students or districts.
Affordable Higher Education
44 million Americans are burdened by nearly 1.5 trillion dollars in college loan debt. Massachusetts residents are especially impacted by this crisis as our public university system continues to become less affordable for students of all ages. Between 2004 and 2016, the average student loan debt for graduates of Massachusetts 4-year public universities rose 77 percent.
This is unacceptable and unsustainable. In a job market that requires higher education, every Massachusetts resident should have access to quality state universities without the overwhelming debt that accompanies it. I support free and debt-free higher education so that every member -- regardless of ability to pay -- can have access to higher education and the opportunity sustain at least a middle class lifestyle.
I support Universal Pre-K because every child should have access to the benefits of early childhood education. Numerous research studies have shown that investing in early education is not only the right thing to do, but the fiscally responsible thing to do. Early education helps foster future academic and vocational success, better health outcomes, and decreased incarceration rates among youth.
When we invest resources into providing early education for children whose families cannot afford or access it, we invest in the future of the Commonwealth.
It is long overdue for Massachusetts to provide support for Universal Pre-K, eliminate wait lists for subsidized child care, and give every child the head start they deserve.