A quality education is the foundation upon which we build a vibrant economy and I am fully committed to building an educational system that will help us realize our individual and national goals. Education is the best way to compete and to make a long term difference in the quality of life. I will work to improve our public schools and make the opportunity of higher education available to all.
As a dean at Middlesex Community College, the Commonwealth's largest community college, I have seen how education is the key to American ingenuity and innovation and to a civil society. There are few issues as vital to our economic future as developing a trained and educated workforce.
Strengthening Our Public Schools: 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.
We must firm up the education pipeline from early education to higher ed. I am a firm believer in early education programs like Head Start so that when our children first sit down at a desk, they are ready to learn. Furthermore, No Child Left Behind is a landmark law and offers great promise for closing the achievement gap and ensuring that every child has the tools to compete in a global economy. Significant reforms have been made and to give up now would be a mistake. But the federal government needs to live up to its end of the bargain by providing full funding. And, we need to make commonsense reforms to build on what we've learned since it was enacted.
Teachers: America's teachers should be the best qualified and best trained teachers in the world. Being competitive in the global economy demands it. We need to create innovative programs that reward teachers for outstanding performance. And, we must ensure that the best and the brightest continue to see teaching as a rewarding profession.
College Affordability: As a former dean at Middlesex Community College, I've seen how federal student aid programs can mean the difference between whether or not a student is able to attend college. A college degree leads to better employment opportunities and higher pay. Furthermore, an educated America enhances the nation's productivity and leadership in the global economy. I will work to make a college education more affordable and accessible for students. I strongly support the Pell Grant and Stafford Loan programs and I was pleased that one of the first promises kept by the Democratic Congress was to pass an urgently needed increase in the federal Pell Grant scholarship. We must also change the student loan program to ensure it is serving students fairly. Recent revelations of kickbacks and corruption in the student lending industry underscore the need for greater Congressional oversight in this area. I support requiring full disclosure of special arrangements between lenders and colleges. These corrupt practices inflate the cost of loans and discourage legitimate competition.