Once they were elected, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito asked a bipartisan transition committee to look at state operations.
Now the transition committee has released a report that summarizes their findings and recommendations in five areas:
– economic growth and jobs
– a great education for every child
– a healthcare system that works
– safer, stronger communities, and,
– a better state government we can be proud of
The report provides guidance for the Baker-Polito administration. So take a look and let the governor and lieutenant governor know what you think.
Strategies for Children’s Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All Campaign, served on the transition committee’s education policy advisory group.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to serve on the committee.” O’Leary said. “It is critical that early education and care be represented in these ‘big picture’ discussions about the state’s priorities in the years ahead.”
“A central finding of each advisory group is that government is too fragmented to deliver on its promises, either to beneficiaries or taxpayers,” the report says. “Although there is undoubtedly room for consolidation of programs and agencies, committee members are in agreement that smarter management can yield significant improvement, both in terms of better outcomes and lower costs.”
Findings on Education
Praising Massachusetts for being “rightly recognized as a national leader in education,” the committee also looked at obstacles, from pre-K to college, that stand in the way of Baker’s goal of having “a great school for every child.”
“Access to high-quality early care and education is limited, especially for low-income children who stand to benefit the most,” the report says.
In addition: “Our elementary and secondary schools are plagued by achievement gaps on the basis of ethnicity and income that have remained stubbornly large over the past decade. Numerous communities – especially in urban areas – continue to face schools with chronically poor performance. High school graduates are often unprepared for college-level coursework…”
Among the report’s “Proposals for Early Action,” is a recommendation to:
“Use the bully pulpit to reinforce the importance of high-quality early education to child development and long-term educational and life outcomes.”
The report also calls for focusing early education investments “on areas and populations with the highest potential for impact” by:
– reducing income-eligible waitlists for subsidized early education and care, and,
– focusing on Gateway Cities to increase the number of early education seats and to improve the quality of the teacher workforce
Another important recommendation is to set “clear goals for STEM exposure across the PreK-12 system.”
Calling for more communication across the educational spectrum, the report says “A consistent theme throughout our discussions was the opportunity to enable greater communication and coordination across all stakeholders in the education landscape: PreK-12, higher education, funders, and employers, among others. Rarely do leaders from across the P-16 system come together in an organized way to articulate an aligned set of strategies and expectations.”
Two of the report’s workforce development proposals would support families with young children by:
– improving access and affordability of public transportation, especially in and around Gateway Cities, and,
– encouraging more flexible work hours, especially for parents returning to the workforce
From Recommendations to Action
A key theme of the report is “Making the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts,” through innovative state government.
Please build on the report’s momentum by letting the Baker-Polito administration know that high-quality early education is a dynamic, proven way to improve outcomes for children and prepare the state’s future workforce.
As Baker and Polito say on the Massachusetts state government website:
“We’re excited to get to work building a Massachusetts where everyone who wants to work is able to do so; where every school is a great school; and where our communities are safe and thriving places. We look forward to engaging you as we get to work on following through on that vision.
“So please, reach out to us using the tools available on this site. Together, we can make Massachusetts truly great.”