We enthusiastically applaud Governor Patrick for proposing significant new investments in public education – from early education through college. His plan rightly recognizes that an educated citizenry is our greatest natural resource and the engine of the Massachusetts economy.
Our students are first in the country in reading and mathematics, but Governor Patrick is wise not to conclude that our job is done. Student achievement gaps are a persistent problem that can’t be addressed piecemeal. We need a comprehensive plan that focuses on students’ needs from preschool all the way through graduate school, and that is the approach the governor is taking in the proposal he has outlined this evening.
Too many children arrive at school already behind. The governor’s proposal to create universal access to high-quality early education would provide a tremendous benefit to the many young children who don’t currently have access to these vital services.
Too many districts struggle to provide students with the intensive academic support they need and the enriched curriculum they deserve. The governor’s call to increase funding for our Gateway Cities and the Expanded Learning Time grant program will help to address those limitations.
Too many students can’t afford rising fees on our college campuses, even though most need at least a two-year degree to find work that pays a living wage. The governor’s proposal to increase funding for public higher education and financial aid will help students pay for college and will restore some of the funding that our colleges and universities have lost over the past decade.
Proposing these investments and supporting the revenues needed to pay for them is a courageous move by Governor Patrick. We eagerly await his budget proposal so that we can study the details of his plan and offer our support for provisions that will help our students succeed and help strengthen our economy.