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Sonia Chang-Díaz releases plan for quality, debt-free, universal public education from birth into adulthood

Press ReleaseSep 7, 2021

BOSTON, MA - Massachusetts state senator and gubernatorial candidate Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston) released a comprehensive education policy platform today that would provide universal quality education for all Massachusetts kids from birth into adulthood. Chang-Díaz has been a longtime leader on education policy in the Legislature, where she served as Senate Education Chair for 8 years and championed the state’s landmark education funding reform law to passage in 2019.

The plan would establish universal early education as an affordable option for all families, fully implement critical funding reforms and dismantle the school to prison pipeline for K-12 students, and provide debt-free public college for all Massachusetts kids.

“My Republican grandfather used to say, ‘education doesn’t cost, it pays’ — and we’ve all seen that’s true for our kids, our families, and our economy in Massachusetts,” said Chang-Díaz. “Our state’s success is built on our education system, but only some kids, from some communities, are given the chance to reach their dreams.”

“Poor kids and kids of color are currently blocked from our expensive early education and higher education systems, even as they continue to face yawning disparities in our K-12 schools,” Chang-Díaz added. “We have the resources to give every child a quality education, regardless of income, race, or zip code. We just need political leaders who have the courage to do it.”

Teachers, parents, superintendents, school committee members, and policy experts from every stage of the education pipeline praised the plan and Sonia’s long track record of delivering large-scale policy changes in education.

“Sonia Chang-Díaz legislates our highest ideals into actions,” said Paul Dakin, former Superintendent of the Revere Public Schools. “Having worked with her when I was a school superintendent, I came to see that she embodies the qualities of scholarship: she confronts complex issues and engages in creative problem solving by questioning, connecting, and collaborating. She demonstrates care and empathy, and takes personal responsibility for the well-being of others, from those in the lowest income groups to those better off. The entire education community of students, teachers, and parents, from pre-school to higher education, will benefit from her leadership with this plan. Sonia Chang-Díaz exemplifies the qualities we need in all leaders.”

“Once again, Sonia demonstrates through this education plan that she has a vision for schools that works for children, families, and educators throughout the state,” said Kristen Leathers, Boston Public Schools parent and educator. “As a veteran educator in Boston Public Schools, I particularly applaud her advocacy for better supports and funding for schools that serve our most marginalized communities to prevent unnecessary and heavy handed state intervention. This approach seeks to capitalize on all the ways that families and educators are succeeding in helping kids get the education they deserve.”

"For too long Massachusetts has failed to make public higher education truly affordable for residents, and far too many who begin a degree program will never finish,” said Jonathan S. Lewis, Ph.D., 19 year veteran of higher education administration with a focus on college access and student success. “Sonia Chang-Díaz has offered a compelling, equitable, data-informed vision for tackling the crises we are experiencing in affordability and completion. This plan charts a course for Massachusetts public higher education to become the national leader that we already claim to be."

“Sonia’s education plan is exactly what the children of Massachusetts need so they can thrive,” said Roberto Jiménez Rivera, father and Member of the Chelsea School Committee. “Children living in poverty fall through the cracks every day, and Sonia’s plan provides the comprehensive fixes we’ve been waiting for. They will ensure that low-income children in Chelsea can live up to their potential just like wealthy children in Swampscott."

"Sonia Chang-Díaz does an exceptional job at articulating the inequities and disparities students are facing, while offering reasonable solutions," said the Parent Leadership Team of the Collaborative Parent Leadership Action Network (CPLAN)  in a statement. "CPLAN believes that in order to implement this necessary change in a meaningful and sustainable way it requires a strong backbone coalition between parents, community members, and school staff along with the support of the department of education and legislators. The efforts of this coalition must contain a common goal, shared values, and effective communication to ensure its efficacy. This plan offers the roadmap we need to achieve the kind of education all children deserve." 

"This is an exciting framework for the future of education in Massachusetts, focused on strong implementation of the efforts already underway while taking our education system, from birth through college, to the next level,” said Colin Jones, education researcher from Watertown, MA. “The pillars of ample investment, learning from excellent practice, and focusing on equity and closing opportunity gaps are admirable. This plan is well suited to the opportunities and challenges we face in schools, campuses, and child care centers across the Commonwealth. This is an effective blueprint to confront the effects of the pandemic and act strategically through even greater support for our students, educators, and families.”

Read the full education policy platform