Investing in Our Future
Every child deserves access to a quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic background. A good education is the lynchpin to the American Dream. However, President Trump’s administration is dismantling our public education system and making it harder for students to get ahead. President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are trying to take away resources from public schools and cut crucial federal education funding for programs that help our students thrive. Secretary Devos is also protecting predatory for-profit colleges, undermining students’ civil rights, and rolling back student loan forgiveness. As a result of the Trump administration’s policies, our students will be held back by burdensome loans.
We need to stand up to this dangerous agenda, and invest in our students and teachers. My educational platform focuses on several key tenets:
- Closing the achievement gap and creating pathways to success for all students
- Investing in educators and supporting teacher training programs
- Expanding access to higher education
1. Closing the Achievement Gap
Massachusetts has one of the best education systems in the country, yet too many of our students are being left behind, especially in under-resourced neighborhoods. We need to close the achievement gap and guarantee a quality education for all our students. We must:
- Strengthen our public schools. Strong public schools are the key to making sure all our children have the opportunity to succeed. However, President Trump and Secretary DeVos have a clear agenda to promote school vouchers, which threaten the very concept and promise of public education. Additionally, charter schools, given their current funding formula, drain crucial resources from traditional public schools and other municipal needs. That’s why I opposed Question 2, which would have raised the cap on charters. In Congress, I will continue to be a fierce advocate for public education, and I will fight to ensure quality, accessibility, and affordability for every student.
- Provide universal Pre-K. Even before the first day of kindergarten, children from low-income families have already fallen behind compared to peers. When I was Chief of Staff to Mayor Marty Walsh, we made investments to expand the city’s high-quality preschool program, which has become a model for cities across the country. Expanding access to strong pre-K programs is just common-sense: children who go to Pre-K have better long-term educational outcomes and higher lifetime earnings. In Congress, I will fight to increase funding for Head Start, which provides crucial early childhood educational services to around one million children. I also will stand up to President Trump’s efforts to eliminate Preschool Development Grants.
- Save after-school enrichment programs. I will fight back against President Trump’s attempt to eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative, which gives critical funding for after-school and summer programs. These programs help provide academic enrichment and support to around 1.7 million students.
- Fully fund special education services under IDEA. The federal government is failing to provide adequate funding for special education. Under the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the government pledged to pay states 40% of the extra costs to educate students with disabilities, but it currently only pays around 16%. This federal funding shortfall squeezes school districts’ budgets and makes it harder for all students to get ahead. I support bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, to fully fund IDEA.
2. Investing in Educators
Great teachers transform students’ lives. Growing up, I struggled with ADHD, but I was lucky to have incredible teachers who believed in me and helped me reach my full potential. Teachers are some of the hardest-working and dedicated professionals in our communities. Research shows that teacher quality matters more than any other school-related factor in improving student performance. We need to support our teachers and make sure that they have the tools they need to help students. I support:
- Protecting funding for teacher recruitment and professional development: For the past two years, President Trump has proposed eliminating Title II-A funding, which supports teacher development programs. Title II-A provides close to $2.5 billion annually to help school districts recruit and support new teachers; establish mentoring programs; and promote professional development initiatives. We can’t allow President Trump to gut these programs. I will work with my colleagues in Congress to protect Title II-A funding.
- Collecting data on what works. When Congress passed the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, it specified that Title II-A grants should focus on evidence-based teacher development programs. However, the Department of Education still lacks in-depth data on what teacher development programs work best. I support legislation to collect data on what programs will be most helpful for teachers and give our children access to the best education possible.
- Improving school infrastructure. When we talk about investing in infrastructure, we cannot ignore the urgent need to modernize and upgrade our public school facilities. Close to a quarter of our public school buildings are currently in poor or fair condition. Our teachers and students deserve better. I strongly support a comprehensive infrastructure package that invests in capital improvements to our public schools.
3. Expanding Access to Higher Education
When we invest in higher education, we’re investing in our students and in our country’s future. Right now, rising costs are putting higher education out of reach for too many students, and those who do attend college are often left with a crippling amount of student debt. Especially as technology changes the skills people need to get ahead, we need to increase the accessibility and affordability of higher education. I support:
- Investing in tuition-free community college. We need to give more students the opportunity to attend great local institutions like Northern Essex Community College, Middlesex Community College, and Mount Wachusett Community College. That’s why I strongly support the Obama administration’s proposal to make two years of community college tuition-free for students that maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Likewise, as I mention in my jobs plan, we should continue to provide federal funding for successful workforce development and mid-career training programs at community colleges. By making these investments, we can make sure that workers have the skills and versatility needed to excel in the 21st Century economy.
- Allowing students to refinance their loans at current rates. Simply put, student loans should not be a money-maker for the federal government, but that’s what currently happens. Rising student loan debt is preventing college students from having success after they graduate. That’s why I support proposals by Senator Warren and Congresswoman Tsongas to allow borrowers to refinance their loans at today’s lower rates. I will be a strong advocate for sensible policies that help students go to college without being burdened with debt.
- Protecting students who get cheated by for-profit colleges. When for-profit colleges mislead and cheat people out of a real education, they should be held accountable. However, the Trump administration has rolled back protections and loan forgiveness programs for students that get swindled by for-profit schools. This is unacceptable. I support enforcing strict regulations to ensure that students at fraudulent for-profit colleges don’t get left with sham degrees and mountains of debt.
- Protecting and increasing Pell grants. Pell grants were initially designed to help students afford the cost of college, but they now only cover 29 percent of average college costs. That’s why I support increasing the maximum Pell grant and indexing grants to ensure they keep pace with inflation.
- Keeping our promises to public servants. We need to fight back against Republican attempts to eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which helps people like social workers, nurses, and police officers by forgiving their student loans after 10 years of qualifying payments. Additionally, under the current system, many people that have made payments are unfairly denied loan forgiveness because loan servicing companies gave them the wrong information. I support efforts, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, to guarantee that all public servants are eligible for the loan forgiveness they deserve.