Our children deserve a world-class education. To achieve this we must be bolder and go stronger recruiting, retaining, and supporting the best teachers possible, as well as fighting harder against budget cuts in public education, and making sure to oppose any legislation that threatens our institutions.
Our teachers are under-compensated, and many have taken second jobs to support themselves and their families. We need to cut top-heavy administration salaries and put that capital into upping teacher salaries and providing them with more teacher-aides. One unnecessary administration position can provide up to thee part-time aides.
Attention and resources must also be made to address children’s needs outside of academics.
Nutrition is fuel to an active and engaged brain. Too many students go hungry. Most students do not have an understanding of healthy eating. Education should not be limited to books. School Gardens ought to be implemented. Results of a 2015 study on School Gardens in Barnstable were not promising solely because of a lack of funds. I will change this. I will also push to include cooking courses led by Nutritionists for the entire family to experience. As the Cape’s FLAVORx Program showed, a healthy diet can actually save money.
It is important as well to start helping children at an early age. A huge problem with implementing this is cost. Infant-care for one child in Massachusetts is presently $17,062, which is $6,360 more than tuition for a four-year state college. I want to fix this. I want to bring children into our senior and community centers. This will not only cut expenses drastically, it will help both the toddlers and senior citizens.
Numerous studies of this kind of arrangement have shown children make significant gains in social and personal development and seniors exhibited delayed mental decline, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of disease and death.
Another factor I will tackle is mental-health and substance-use. The Cape needs a premiere alternative school with a mental-health and rehabilitative substance-use program; a sober learning environment that includes cognitive behavioural therapy, education, self-esteem building, and a clear path to recovery. I am honored to sit with other community leaders, public and charter school administrators, mental and substance care providers on the Community Partnership Planning Committee. We have been working to create programs and a potential rehabilitation program with the cooperation of every school district across Cape Cod. I visited the Northshore Recovery High School in Beverly, MA with our committee chair and spent time with the students, teachers, and administrators. What I saw proved all the more that establishing an alternative learning environment like Northshore would make all the difference here on the Cape.
Students face a multitude of distractions at home and out in the world. I will work tirelessly with parents and educators to ensure that all our children live lives which are as stable and nurturing as possible.