Massachusetts has a legacy of being a leader in education. However, there is still much that remains to be done here in the birthplace of public education.
For starters, it’s time that Massachusetts gets serious about providing first-class early education to all our children. I know firsthand how important early education is in preparing a child for success in school and in life; I myself am a product of Head Start, and now, as a father, I understand how crucial early education is in getting children ready for school and the future.
I believe that early education is a right for every child, not a privilege, and it is our job as legislators to ensure that every student in the Commonwealth has the chance to succeed. This is why early education has consistently been one of my top priorities.
As a Massachusetts Senator, I have repeatedly championed legislation that would improve the quality of early childhood education to help close the achievement gap. In addition, I have diligently advocated for increased funding to open access to early education and care, to improve the overall quality of early education programs, and to support early educators here in the Commonwealth. I am proud to say that in recent years, while I have served on the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, there have been significant funding investments in early education, and we have made strides in reducing the Pre-K wait list for income-eligible children.
Although early education is the foundation of future success, it is also crucial that we continue providing ample support to our students from kindergarten through Grade 12 and beyond. I have had the pleasure of visiting nearly every school in my district, and often interact with the amazing students and great educators throughout our communities. Chapter 70 funding and local aid provides critical financial assistance to our Commonwealth’s schools and their students, and I have been a longtime supporter of increasing this funding so our schools are able to access the resources they need.
Furthermore, I strongly believe that every student deserves an education that fits their needs and abilities, which is why I have consistently advocated for legislation and funding that supports our English Language Learner (ELL) students, as well as students with special needs. It is vital to the success of the Commonwealth that all of our young people have access to equal education and that we do our part to provide the necessary resources to ensure the success of all students.
Our Commonwealth is also home many of the best public and private higher education institutions in the world. I am proud to have so many of these first-class universities and colleges in my own district. However, I am well aware that, for many students, getting a college degree means facing exploding higher education costs. The strength of our knowledge economy relies heavily on a college-educated workforce. As such, we should do everything we can to make college more affordable to ensure that people are able to receive a degree without taking on a mountain of debt. One of the best ways we can do this is by supporting our public higher education institutions to make high-quality, affordable education attainable for any young person who is striving for further education.
Educating the future leaders of our Commonwealth is one of the most important jobs that we have, and it is my job as a legislator to ensure that our schools and students receive the assistance they need. In recent years, we have managed to make significant investments in our education system; however, there is still much that remains to be done. I will continue to fight for the students of the Commonwealth to ensure that they receive the education they deserve.