Education is an issue of pivotal importance to me. My father was an immigrant to this country from Italy, and my mother is the daughter of Italian immigrants. Both of my parents benefitted tremendously from their experiences in East Boston, Revere, and Winthrop public schools, which propelled them to good colleges and jobs. It is not an overstatement to say that neither I nor anyone else in my immediate family would be where we are today without the support of the public school systems in this district. My immense gratitude to these schools is why I ran for School Committee in Revere.
We need several statewide initiatives to best support Massachusetts students after this most disruptive year of their lives and set them up for long-term success.
First, funds are needed NOW to remediate the aftermath of Covid-19, not in 3 years. As preparations for full-time, in-person schooling begin, funds must be made available to ensure that students, teachers, and parents are kept safe. Additional resources must also be made to support students who may have fallen behind academically due to remote learning.
Second, we need to promote equity in school districts so that no child is left behind or disadvantaged. I was proud to spearhead the creation of the first ever Revere Equity Advisory Board that brought together parents, teachers, students, and other community stakeholders to develop creative solutions to address educational inequities. To aid municipalities and ensure the best educational opportunities for all students, including students with disabilities and English language learners (ELLs), funds for educational equity initiatives should be included in the state budget.
Third, we must make mental health resources readily available to all Massachusetts students. Youth mental health issues and substance abuse have spiked during the pandemic, creating a crisis for many families. As a member of the Revere School Committee, I led the implementation of a districtwide mental health audit to determine how Revere Public Schools could better support our students. We need to make state funds available so that every school district in the state can conduct such mental health audits. Similarly, we must make more public health resources available to municipalities and school districts for the purpose of combatting the mental health crisis impacting our children.
Finally, we need to dramatically expand internship and apprenticeship programs for the Commonwealth’s high schools and community colleges. Connecting Activities, the largest statewide apprenticeship program for students provides opportunities for a mere 3.6% of the nearly 300,000 public high school students in Massachusetts each year. This is unacceptable. All Massachusetts students should have the opportunity to gain real-world job experience for the benefit of their futures and our 21st century state economy.