A sustained commitment to education means children in our Commonwealth can grow up to be anything they want to be, and Massachusetts will have the intellectual capital to innovate and boost the economy in the next generation. Investing in education has been a wise strategy for generations, giving Massachusetts a reputation for innovation and creation, while also supporting property values. Good schools mean Arlington, Belmont, and North Cambridge will continue to be places where families thrive.

Despite a tradition of strong state support for schools, funding for education is under threat. Since 2001, investments in education have been cut statewide, and the threat is felt locally, with Chapter 70 funding down 10% ($433 million).* It is a well documented fact that early education programs like Head Start are key to reducing the achievement gap and ensuring academic success, yet early education and care have been cut 24% ($158 million). Local Aid, which constitutes a large portion of the funding for Arlington and Belmont schools, has been reduced 42% ($688 million) since 2001. Our communities are concerned that further cuts could lead to crowded classrooms and reduce opportunities in the schools. But if we get this right, if we make the right choices to protect our schools, then we nurture opportunities for our children and we safeguard the prosperity education brings in the present and in the future.

One concrete solution is passing the “adequacy study” legislation currently in the State Legislature. This legislation would mandate a review of what it actually costs to provide our children with an “adequate” education, allow us to determine the resources we need for our children to succeed, and bring everyone to the table for a discussion on what we want education to provide. I strongly support this bill. At the same time, we cannot allow legislation that will hinder the ability of teachers to educate our children. The STAND petition that would have been on the ballot this fall was well-intentioned, but misguided, and would have short circuited a productive agreement between teachers, the Department of Education, and principals. Though the compromise legislation passed is not perfect, I support it, along with the Mass. Teachers Association.

We need to look beyond just test scores to provide schools where every aspect of a child’s academic and social development is emphasized. Of course, some measurement of a student’s progress is important, but a narrow minded focus on “teaching to the test” is misguided. Science, technology, and math instruction can inspire young minds to become innovators. Strong arts, humanities, and athletics can foster social and emotional growth in young people, giving them a healthy, happy and balanced beginning in their adult lives. When education is successful, it fosters a capacity for inquiry and analysis – life long skills. Schools help to create the future for our communities, and as your State Representative, I will make sure that Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge’s commitment to education is protected.