(Jeff McCormick is an Independent candidate for governor of Massachusetts. The following was originally published on his campaign website.)
As a state, we have a rich history of excellence in public education and an impressive track record on education reform. But among our many superlatives, major deficits remain: We are not teaching to the demands of our job market, exacerbated by years of disinvestment in public higher education which, in part, has led to a jobs gap on many levels. According to a new report by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, by 2020, the state college and university system will produce 35,000 fewer graduates with science- and technology- based degrees than the state’s economy needs. It is estimated that a wave of retirements in the next ten years will create 100,000 vacancies in the state’s manufacturing sector. The majority of these jobs will require some form of secondary degree, yet right now only one in four students in the state’s Gateway Cities earn a degree beyond high school.
Our high scores come with an achievement gap as wide as any in the nation; and our reforms have not succeeded in transforming an antiquated school model which blocks innovation and the application of best practices.
As an Independent, Jeff is beholden to no one but the children, families and communities of Massachusetts. He is a product of public schools and understands first-hand the enormous value of good teachers, mentors and coaches. Jeff’s Independent approach to education includes:
- Embracing scalable innovations such as those proven to narrow the achievement gap like longer learning time, tutoring, autonomy in teacher hiring, and early learning programs
- Ensuring that school reform is financially fair and inclusive throughout the system
- Freeing up teachers and administrators from the proliferation of regulation and unfunded mandates
- Providing teachers with retraining and professional development
- Encouraging pathways to post high-school education and workforce training with increased partnerships with businesses and trade organizations, state colleges and universities
- Teaching the whole child with wrap-around services and strong community partnerships