Learning is a lifelong process that begins at birth and continues long after school. Our education system should adapt to new understandings of the learning process, a changing society, and an evolving economy.
We have a lot to be proud of. Massachusetts pioneered public education. Our adult residents are among the most educated in the nation. In recent years, our K12 schools have led in math and English Language Arts as measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). We were great at preparing our residents for the 1990s, but now we need an education system prepares ourselves for the changing future.
Our education system is designed as if learning was something that only takes place in school between grades K- 12. Nothing could be more wrong, outdated or counterproductive. We must recognize that children learn differently, that content is available in new ways, and the classroom can function as a more dynamic and interactive place.
We have great universities and an effective innovation economy. We need to bring together our resources and provide the best education to all from the earliest ages and throughout life. Children learn faster and more effectively in the first three years of life than at any point after. Yet we treat the people who care for our kids at that age as poorly paid unskilled labor. We need to invest in our kids from the beginning, supporting new parents, even before birth, and provide high quality child care. Lifelong learning is a necessity not a luxury in this economy. We also need to make use of our school assets and provide community learning centers for all ages.
As Governor I will:
Zero to Three. Use public funding to ensure universal, high-quality care for infants and toddlers from birth to age three.
Early Childhood Education. Provide free, high quality preschool to all kids beginning at age 3. Recognize and support preschool teachers and care providers with training and wages that recognize their critical contribution.
Wrap Around Services. Children cannot properly learn if they suffer insecurity with regards to food, shelter, clothing, health, and mental health. Schools cannot fill this gap on their own. State, municipal, and community partners must come together to support every kid the way a parent would support their own child.
MCAS. Drop high-stakes testing and make a truly comprehensive assessment system by adding portfolio review and capstone projects. Include new methods for assessing critical core skills such as civics, financial literacy, and computer science.
Personalized, Competency-Based Education. Update our expectations of learning to reflect individualized new modes of information delivery that allow teachers more time to work with students and small groups.
School-based Autonomy. Real innovation occurs at the school level. We need to bridge the charter/district divide by convening a yearly conference where school-based education professionals, teachers, parents, and students share new approaches, best practices, and new challenges.
- Lifelong Learning. Make public schools community centers for lifelong learning. Create partnerships and mentorships with business and universities. Invest in Vo-Tech education, work with major regional employers to match skills and anticipate needs.