For the next few weeks, Progressive Massachusetts is highlighting one aspect of our Shared Prosperity Agenda, having our members write their perspectives on why Education, Healthcare, Housing, Jobs and Wages, and Progressive Revenue are important to them. For our first week, we are focusing on Education -- Within five years, we want free, publicly funded education for all residents from pre-K through Community, Vocational, or Four-Year College; A good first step would be universal, publicly funded pre-K available for all residents.This is part one of our three-part series on education written by Susan Davidoff, Jane Franz, Maxwell Morrongiello, with input from several others. Thank you!
President John Kennedy once said “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” Everyday, Massachusetts policy-makers have a choice: They can choose to act in creating economic prosperity and equality in the commonwealth by investing in Universal Pre-K and free Public Higher Education. Or they can do nothing, and forgo billions of dollars in economic growth.
The fact is investing in education is an economic issue. We all talk about the importance of investing in our children, but somehow this talk doesn’t translate into action. Somehow our policy makers have forgotten that when you invest in something, there can be a significant economic return.
Frankly, the biggest obstacle to investing in our children is short sighted thinking. If you ask for an honest answer from our politicians as to why we don’t have free public higher education they would say “We just don’t have the money.” That isn’t true. Raising revenue through progressive revenue reform, while difficult in the short term, will return more money through taxpayers in the long run through economic growth. Every tax dollar the government spends on education results in $4.50 in future tax revenue. That figure doesn’t even include the impact on the rest of the economy. Starting early by investing in Early Childhood Education yields eight dollars for every dollar spent.
By investing in the future of our children, we are essentially getting free money. And it’s not just our children who benefit. When they grow up, they spend their earnings, and invest them back into the local economy. By doing that everyone benefits. Mom and pop will be a little richer, as well as people who don’t have kids. Education and a better economy will also reduce the incarceration rate, at supports for public support, reducing the burden on taxpayers.
It’s time for Massachusetts lawmakers to choose.They take action and make the commonwealth a better place, while boosting the economy and state revenue as a result. Or lawmakers can squander the future of our children, our state checkbook, and our economy. We choose a brighter future.
See what the gubernatorial candidates have to say about these and other education and workforce development proposals here, Lieutenant Governor Candidates here, Treasurer here, and Attorney General here.
See our full statement of Education Values here.