FRAMINGHAM – Massachusetts prides itself on the strength of its public school system. While we have great schools here in Framingham and throughout the Commonwealth, there is much more we can do to ensure that all of our kids receive a high quality education that provides them with the knowledge, skills and ability to thrive today and in the future.
As your full-time state representative, I will partner with the Framingham School Committee, the Keefe Regional Technical School Committee and the Superintendents of both districts to make sure that these goals are realized for all students.
As the daughter of former educators, I am incredibly disappointed by what the Legislature did not accomplish in their last session.
To start, a fix to provide communities such as Framingham with more education funding failed. The Chapter 70 formula which determines state aid for each district has remained the same for 25 years and is woefully inadequate.
Political candidates have used Chapter 70 as a talking point for years, yet nothing has actually been accomplished. Based on my discussions with members of the Framingham School Committee, I believe that formula reform must address funding for special education, English language learners and low-income students – all of which we have in disproportionate numbers in Framingham.
In a second failure to provide for our students, a bill filed by Representative Chris Walsh about defining and providing screening for dyslexia students was not passed by the Legislature. Special education is an important sector of our public education, and we need to continue to make decisions to ensure all of our students learn, grow and thrive with the supports they need. We need to work to ensure cities and towns are receiving their fair share of state funding for reimbursements.
Along with these two issues, I also support:
Early childhood education: I pledge to support early childhood education for every child by supporting efforts to make high quality Pre-K available for all our families in Framingham and throughout the Commonwealth. Too many of our children start out behind and consequently, too many never catch up. Investing in high quality early childhood education gives kids the start they need to succeed. A child’s early years are critical to their future and addressing the issues of economic justice. With early childhood education, our children will be better prepared for success. We should explore a partnership with FSU to expand early childhood education, while providing opportunities for FSU to develop the next generation of teachers.
Increase guidance counselors and social workers in our schools: We need to provide our schools with the resources to help our kids emotionally and educate the whole student. The mental health of our kids is a major public health issue, and partnering with families, teachers and health professionals will give our kids the tools they need for their future.
Grow opportunities between Mass Bay Community College, Framingham State University and Framingham High School: We are fortunate to have two institutions of higher education in our community. Our high school should partner with Mass Bay and FSU as a way for students to take college-level courses, earn college credits and opens our students to new learning experiences and possibilities.
Work with our local school leaders and the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to support the current Fuller Middle School project, and to make sure that the MSBA is well positioned to support school building projects in the future. Like many communities Framingham has a number of schools which were built in response to the post-WWII housing boom, and many of these schools are in need of repair or replacement. As the only candidate who has proactively engaged with our local School Building Committee I have been impressed with the transparency and rigor of their process, but we need more state support to continue this critical work.
As a former aide to Governor Deval Patrick, I know how Beacon Hill works.
Using my knowledge and skills, I pledge to not only be a vocal advocate for our schools, but to actively seek out solutions, partner with stakeholders and work collaboratively for the best for our kids.