For the next few weeks, Progressive Massachusetts is highlighting one aspect of our Shared Prosperity Agenda, having our members write their perspectives on why Education, Healthcare, Housing, Jobs and Wages, and Progressive Revenue are important to them.
For our first week, we are focusing on Education — Within five years, we want free, publicly funded education for all residents from pre-K through Community, Vocational, or Four-Year College, but a good first step would be universal, publicly funded pre-K available for all residents.
This is part two of our three-part series on education written by Susan Davidoff, Jane Franz, Maxwell Morrongiello, with input from several others. Thank you!
Massachusetts is home to America’s oldest school — Boston Latin — and its oldest college — Harvard. Today, Massachusetts has some of the most elite private colleges where students continually top the charts of the Department of Education rankings.
Yet over the past few decades, America’s best educated state is also the home to increasing income inequality. Massachusetts is leading the nation in education, but also in income inequality.
If education is known as the great equalizer, what’s the problem?
Massachusetts has some of the world’s best universities, but they are also the most expensive in the country. A four-year education at a public or private university here costs one-fourth more than the national average. College should be affordable for high-achieving students.
A solid K-12 education paves the way for college or other further education which all prepares students for jobs. However, Massachusetts school face inadequate and inequitable distribution of resources to many predominantly minority schools. This lack of resources fuels educational disparities — too many of our neediest children lack access to programs that are essential to closing achievement gaps. Massachusetts currently has a waiting list of approximately 25,000 for financial assistance for early education and child care. We know that early childhood education provides a strong foundation to help children achieve later in life in a variety of ways.
In Massachusetts, our burdening legacy of racial economic and social inequality still persists. We can ignore it, or we can do something about it. Racial inequality costs the US economy one trillion dollars every year. Investing in education wouldn’t solve the problem, but it will definitely help.
Access to education is known as the great equalizer. Massachusetts should continue to be a leader in the fight for equality.