Massachusetts in general and Somerville in particular has one of the best-educated populations in the country. But the number of masters degrees among residents hides educational and workforce inequities. We need an economy and school system that can ensure that all residents have the opportunities they need to succeed.
While working with the Government Performance Lab at Harvard, Catia learned that many students without learning supports at home, many of whom are low-income and students of color, can fall behind in learning before even setting foot in a Kindergarten classroom. Therefore, as a matter of equity of opportunity, Catia advocates universal pre-K as an evidence-based model for ensuring that all students, no matter their parents' resources, enter Kindergarten on an equal footing.
Instead of investing in our public schools to improve their quality, we are siphoning money out of public schools and into charter schools, leaving struggling districts with even less resources to educate the children that remain. Catia stands firmly against expanding the cap on charter schools, and she stands with teachers unions who are fighting for a living wage.
Studies have shown that child success comes much more from life skills that we aren't currently measuring than from academic memorization. Catia disagrees with the use of high-stakes testing to make decisions about which students and which educators are invested in.
Catia will also make desperately needed investments in English language learning and special education to improve equity in our K-12 system.
Catia holds over $70,000 worth of educational loans. She understands how the price tag deters many students from even contemplating high-quality higher education, and how those who aren't deterred sign lifelong contracts they don't fully understand at age 18. This is why people are starting to question the cost-benefit payoff of college.
But college remains a vital way to build a satisfying and lucrative career, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. That's why Catia will ensure that everyone, regardless of background, gets to make the same choice about college, unencumbered by a hefty financial decision that can feel oppressive.
The internet is proliferating with memes about who is deemed an "essential" worker and who is not during this current crisis. Underneath those jokes is a stark truth: workers who are the backbone of our society are often not compensated as such, and are often forced to take on risks that others avoid. Further, many jobs that are on hold now are revealed to be much more essential than we treated them - for example, childcare providers. Everyone deserves a living wage in normal times, and we have an obligation to our collective well-being to create a safety net in times of uncertainty and hardship such as those we are currently living through.
Let's learn from our mistakes, and avoid creating a permanent group of workers who fall out of the employment system altogether. We must help companies retain their workers to avoid massive long-term unemployment and the workforce dislocation that comes with it. We also must ensure that those who have already lost their jobs are taken care of as well.
Catia will work to prevent the erosion of programs that we know reduce the impact of recessions like Unemployment Insurance by companies who are trying to save money by regressing our economic protections. She will invest in workers and redefine who is "essential".
Catia learned about barriers to work that are big and small while working at the Governor's budget office. For example, she helped to create a program that would provide vocationally-oriented English language learning for non-native English speakers and immigrants so that they could get good jobs. Catia helped to show that the economic growth produced by helping more people work greatly outweighs the cost of providing this needed service, which is critical to getting this idea funded by the legislature.
There are many similar challenges in our society where low-cost investment in prevention up-front produces lucrative benefits for all down the line. Catia knows how to make the case for these investments with a range of stakeholders who have different goals. She will promote programs that reduce barriers to work, like affordable childcare, sufficient maternity and paternity leave for working parents, and vocationally-oriented English language learning on the basis of their contributions to our shared prosperity.
I am proud to take the Green New Deal pledge because I believe in:
You are reading this correctly. The Green New Deal pledge appears on both my environmental and workforce and education policy pages in order to highlight the fact that half of the Green New Deal is really about employing all of our residents in jobs of the future.