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“A quality education is the foundation upon which we create a vibrant society and economy” - Cong. Tsongas






During my time as a teacher at an alternative school, while serving as a dean at Middlesex Community College, the Commonwealth’s largest community college, and as a parent, I have witnessed firsthand the impact education has on an individual and a family. Massachusetts’ public schools, the first established in our country, have long led the nation in providing students with a high-quality education.

The renaissance of science and technology innovation in Massachusetts, and the Third District in particular, in recent years has demonstrated clearly how integral public education also is to the economy. A large part of our boom in the technology sector is due to the integration of government, industry and educational institutions.

The federal government should be a strategic partner that assists state and local communities in preparing its students for their futures. It should not be an entity that issues mandates from on high. My job in Congress is to help support the education funding pipeline to states and local communities from early education to higher education.

There are educational policies Congress should prioritize as we consider the distribution of financial resources for education. We need smaller class sizes and services for students with specialized learning needs. We need improved school infrastructure to ensure students have access to 21st century learning environments.  We need to pay teachers more and to attract more and better qualified teachers to our public schools, particularly the most challenging schools. We need to collaborate with teachers to provide them with the resources and incentives to improve themselves if they are failing. We need systems for removing ineffective teachers who do not improve. Most importantly, we need a plan for public education that spans from preschool through post-high school to ensure all students have the opportunity to receive an affordable, quality education.

The diverse Third District is made up of small suburban communities and old industrial cities where public education dollars play a critical role in helping all of our children gain the skills they need to succeed in our knowledge-based economy and in helping newcomers integrate into our American society. A quality education is the foundation upon which we create a vibrant society and economy, and I am fully committed to building an educational system that will help us realize our individual and national goals.

Click here to find out more about Massachusetts schools



Since coming to Congress, I have heard from many teachers, school administrators, and parents in the District regarding the No Child Left Behind Act and its unintended impact on our communities. 

Despite its laudable goals, No Child Left Behind fell short in many important ways. Some states have lowered their education standards in order to dodge the sanctions in this law. Others have struggled to fulfill the law’s mandates without the needed funding to achieve those results, particularly in low-income areas where resources are scarce. As a result, school districts have been unable to keep up with the goals this legislation set out to achieve. 

Research suggests that, more than class size or textbooks, teaching method or technology, or even the curriculum, what makes a difference in student achievement is the quality of the teacher. I believe that we need to invest in our teachers by paying them more and attracting more highly qualified candidates to the profession, and  that teachers should be evaluated and held accountable for their performance. Such evaluations ought to take multiple factors into account, not focus solely on student test scores. Evaluations should also be accompanied by the appropriate resources and time during the school day for teachers to reflect and improve upon their performance.

The process to update No Child Left Behind took more than 8 years, and many worked to ensure that the new reauthorization builds on the lessons we learned from it. Throughout this process, I consistently supported an education reauthorization bill that provides states and local school districts with the flexibility they need while still keeping the focus on educational outcomes for all students.


On Dec. 9, 2015, after years of extensive bipartisan negotiations, I voted in favor of the final version of the updated Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now called the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.  While ESSA is not perfect, it does return significant flexibility to states while maintaining the federal government's role as a strategic partner with state and local governments, and reflects years of bipartisan stakeholder input. 

On Dec. 10, 2015, ESSA was signed into law by President Obama. In addition to building on key areas of progress made in recent years, it brings needed resources to the Third District and to American schoolchildren across the country; particularly an increase in funding authorized for English Language Learners, investment in programs that build 21st century skills and creativity through music and STEM education, support for effective school library programs, and a reauthorization of the Preschool Development Grant program to ensure our earliest learners can succeed. The federal government will also continue to work closely with states to review their education plans going forward. Above all, ESSA’s passage marks a necessary step forward to clarify the path ahead for states and ultimately fulfill No Child Left Behind’s original promise of equal educational opportunity for all students. 

Every child should have the chance to pursue all of the opportunities this country has to offer, beginning with the solid foundation of a quality education.


I support charter schools and I believe they have a critical role to play in education reform. However, the funding formula is broken and states needs to develop funding mechanisms that do not disadvantage other public schools.  Furthermore, charter schools should not be used as a way to avoid having to meet education standards.


Access to early childhood education is critical to ensuring all students start off their education on equitable footing. I have consistently supported universal pre-school and Head Start, and have urged the Budget Committee to make full-funding Head Start a top priority.

I voted for the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which awards grants to states that improve early education standards and practices, build an effective workforce, and improve the school readiness of young children.

I have consistently supported funding for the Reach Out and Read program, which helps foster a love of reading in young children by providing books to their parents at well-baby and well-child pediatric visits, and the Reading Is Fundamental program, which delivers free books and literacy resources to children and families.




The renaissance of science and technology innovation we are seeing in Massachusetts is largely the result of the Commonwealth’s unwavering public and private support for STEM education and the bright young minds generating the ideas of tomorrow. Nowhere else is this more apparent than here in the Third District.

As a member of the Congressional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Caucus, I recognize the critical role that science, technology, engineering and math education play in preparing American students for the jobs of the 21st century. I understand the value of ensuring that our children, and especially our young women, have adequate training in math and science.

Today, an understanding of scientific and mathematical principles, a working knowledge of computer hardware and software, and the problem solving skills developed by courses in STEM are necessary for a growing number of jobs. I hear from employers throughout the district about the need for STEM-educated workers to remain competitive in a global economy.

Read about some of the innovation going on at institutions around the Third District!

I was proud to support the America COMPETES Act, signed into law in 2011, which coordinated federal STEM education programs and funded academic programs to increase the number of qualified STEM teachers who will train the next generation of scientists and researchers. In the 113h Congress, I cosponsored a number of bills to improve STEM education, including legislation to provide competitive grants to states working with their community colleges that train students in the skills needed by the modern workforce.  I am also a strong advocate for the Defense Department’s STARBASE Program, a nationwide program that provides STEM education to elementary school students.  The only STARBASE program in New England is located at Hanscom Air Force Base where students from Lowell, Lawrence and Fitchburg have all participated.

I will continue to support expanding STEM initiatives throughout our educational system, from young children first developing an interest in science to adult workers seeking to sharpen their skills to take advantage of high tech opportunities available in our region.




Going to school is about more than just learning a curriculum. It is also about having a nurturing space to grow, learn and mature into a healthy and responsible citizen.

Federally supported child nutrition programs and initiatives reach more than 40 million children nationwide and aim to improve children's health, increase access for low-income children to nutritious meals and snacks while also supporting the agricultural economy.

Hunger has a residual, negative impact on a child’s education.  I have heard from school officials who voiced concerns about students who arrive at school hungry and as a result, have a harder time concentrating.

In 2010, I was proud to support the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This law set new nutrition standards for schools and ensures that students will be offered vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and whole grains. While I understand and appreciate the concerns of some school lunch administrators that these new requirements could increase costs and make meal planning more challenging, I have opposed provisions that would allow schools to opt-out of these science-based meal nutrition requirements. The USDA has worked closely with schools to phase in many of these new requirements, and provided additional flexibility, education, and technical assistance to meet the updated standards. Allowing such a waiver would only weaken the program and lessen the healthy impact and benefits to school age children around the country who rely on school lunches every day.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act expired in September 2015. As Congress works on legislation to reauthorize this law, I will continue to oppose efforts to weaken school nutrition standards.




Having served as a dean at Middlesex Community College, the Commonwealth’s largest community college, and knowing its impact on my own family, I have seen how higher education is the key to American ingenuity and innovation and to a productive civil society. In particular, I’ve seen how federal student aid programs can mean the difference between whether a student is able to attend college or not. An educated employee has access to better employment opportunities and higher pay, while an educated America enhances the nation's productivity and leadership in the global economy.

Unfortunately, increases in college tuition and cuts to financial aid have created barriers to higher education for many students. At a time when so many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, students are being forced to borrow unprecedented sums of money, often at extremely high interest rates, to finance their education, leaving many students unable to afford college. High tuition and borrowing costs puts college beyond reach for many and serves as a substantial disincentive for students to pursue a college degree.

The federal government and universities should continue to work together to make college more affordable and accessible. I strongly support Senator Elizabeth Warren's bill that would allow students to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates, and I am a cosponsor of the House version of this bill, H.R. 1834.

I have joined my colleagues in supporting federal funding for the TRIO programs, which help disadvantaged, first-generation college attendees, and individuals with disabilities prepare for and succeed in high school and college.  I was also proud to vote in favor of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), which was signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. SAFRA represents one of the largest investments in student aid in history. By ending wasteful overpayments to student loan lenders, SAFRA was able to increase the maximum Pell Grant scholarship to $5,550 in 2010 and to $5,975 by 2019. Students from the Third District have seen a dramatic increase in their Pell grant awards. Additionally, the law strengthens the Perkins Loan program by expanding it to every U.S. college campus.

The law also simplified the FAFSA form, something that had long been requested by financial aid counselors and parents. The law changed a previously onerous process into a simple one, ensuring that parents only need the information from their yearly tax returns to complete the form.

Additionally, SAFRA invested $1.5 billion to allow borrowers to cap their monthly federal student loan payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income for new borrowers after 2014. These actions move us in the right direction, but we still have more to do to address the rising cost of college and the weight of student loan debt on our economy.

There are few issues as vital to our economic future as developing a trained and educated workforce. The first public schools in America were established in Massachusetts; in fact, our state’s Constitution specifically includes education as an obligation of the Commonwealth. I will continue to help strengthen our schools by ensuring that the federal government is a strategic partner, assisting state and local communities.

Click here for the US Department of Education website

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