Thomas Jefferson got it exactly right when he said, "An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people." Our history and accomplishments as a nation of educated Americans have proved this essential truth. With global economic competition increasing daily, the United States must be offering its citizens a world-class education, not only to secure our survival but also to “Win the Future” as President Obama has said.
Our Goal: #1 in the World in Educational Excellence
We must re-dedicate ourselves to being the world-leader in education. Our future citizens and leaders in every sector must be the best-educated, smartest, most well-informed people in the world. Moreover, every American must have the opportunity to learn and contribute as productive members of society. Educational excellence at every level — early education, K-12, and higher education — is the best way to ensure America’s economic success now and for the future.
How Tom will Make a Difference:
As a parent of four daughters, Tom knows that education starts before a child enters kindergarten. He will advocate for public education to begin as early as possible, ensuring that children are able to keep up with their peers in the increasingly competitive society. Especially for children from poor communities, children of color, and children who speak a language other than English at home, early education programs can bolster educational attainment for a lifetime. Comprehensive, high-quality early education programs must be a priority for partnerships among federal, state, and local governments to provide funding, a trained workforce, and improved outcomes.
Tom believes that our nation’s commitment to public elementary and secondary education has made our economy great and our nation strong. He is dedicated to improving our public education systems throughout our country as a vital element of our economic future and the future of all American families. With four children in the Wayland public school system, Tom understands and appreciates the precious resources provided to his family and children by this national, the state, and community partnership. Tom is committed to continuing and improving this essential public resource.
Charter schools and other alternative public schools have helped clarify potential improvements to America’s public school systems. Through experimentation, charters and other schools have identified ways to close achievement gaps caused by poverty and other causes. Tom supports their success in achieving these goals. Tom wants to bring the lessons learned from these experiments into all public classrooms, rather than segregating students further. Such winning practices include longer school days and possibly longer school years, but of course will require billions of dollars in additional funding for teachers to implement.
Tom believes reclaiming our nation’s lead in educational excellence will take tremendous dedication and commitment from all involved parties, including teachers, school administrators, students, parents, communities, and all levels of government. While we are asking for this commitment, and possibly some sacrifice, we must also recommit to the people who are responsible for our children’s education by increasing teachers’ salaries and maintaining their benefits.
Tom believes that higher educational opportunities should be available and affordable for all those who wish to pursue them. Federal higher education grants and loans allow those who would otherwise be unable to afford college the ability to better themselves and their families. Tom would like to see these programs expanded, rather than cut, as Republicans do.
Massachusetts is home to some of the finest universities in the world and this is an unparalleled resource for our state and our nation. But higher education does not necessarily mean the completion of a degree at an elite four-year college or university. And that’s why we also have some of the nation’s most innovative and successful four-year public universities and community colleges.
For many students, young and old, community colleges and junior colleges offer programs and classes that teach new skills and open up job opportunities in the trades or other emerging fields. In the current economy, the role of community colleges is especially important for providing the job skills necessary for good jobs in industries such as health care and renewable energy. Tom will work to ensure that community college students will not be deterred from finishing their course of study because they lack access to funding. In addition, Tom will advocate for heightened regulations on for-profit schools to prevent malfeasance.
Tom will advocate strongly for excellence at every level of the educational system. Tom will also strongly support the Pell Grant Program and other federal and state programs, as well as public/private partnerships that enable Americans of limited means to achieve their educational and vocational training goals.