AS THE CHILD OF IMMIGRANTS,
Leland knows firsthand the transformative power that a quality
education can have to open opportunities and expand horizons
for students, their parents, and their communities.
As a Cambridge City Councillor, Leland works every day to
ensure that every child in Cambridge has access to a high-quality
education. He has a proven track record of making key
investments to ensure student success – a legacy he will
continue as Lieutenant Governor.
Leland’s education plan for Massachusetts focuses on improving
the quality, accessibility and affordability of educational programs
for students of all ages and walks of life, from implementing
universal pre-k to developing workforce training programs.
Time and time again, research has shown that children who participate in a high
quality pre-kindergarten program are placed on an early track for success,
demonstrating significantly stronger academic and social tendencies later in life.
• Higher incomes • More stable home lives • More law-abiding
• Stronger academic performance • Lower arrest rates
Early childhood education empowers parents to provide more stable foundations
for their children as well, providing the support to retain a job and provide for their
Ultimately, providing our children with early childhood education pays off. For
every $1 we invest in our children, we receive a return of $4-$9 later, from reduced
costs associated with crime, welfare and special education and increased income
Despite these benefits, in Massachusetts only 60.3 percent of preschool-
children are enrolled in a formal early education program.
As a Cambridge City Councillor, Leland has developed a proven
track record as an advocate for universal pre-k and other
programs that benefit our youngsters.
• Leland refused to rubber stamp the Cambridge Public
School’s budget as usual, instead calling on the
to develop a comprehensive plan for universal J-K and Pre-k.
• Leland has developed thoughtful approaches to funding,
siting and implementing universal pre-k in Cambridge. As a
local policymaker, he understands the challenges that
across the Commonwealth face and can find innovative
solutions to meet them.
Leland believes that pre-kindergarten programs shouldn’t be a
luxury to a few, but accessible and affordable for all families in
Massachusetts. As a municipal official, Leland recognizes that
every community has its own challenges, and that there is no
‘one size fits all’ solution.
To expand pre-k programs across the Commonwealth and
eliminate waiting lists, Leland supports innovative hybrid
programs that develop partnerships amongst existing public
school districts, federally-funded Head Start programs, and
private facilities. Communities can opt to invest early education
revenues in public school facilities or instead contract with
existing Head Start or private programs.
EDUCATION: THE FACTS
Although Massachusetts has long led the nation in education, we can and must do
more to make sure every student has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
• Massachusetts hasn’t narrowed persistent achievement gaps between white and
minority students. On the MCAS, white students are twice as likely to achieve
proficiency in Math and Science than their Hispanic / African American classmates.
Achievement gaps also persist in Advanced Placement class enrollment and, for
Hispanic students, college attendance.
• According to Massachusetts employers, there is a critical knowledge gap and
skills gap between what graduates of Massachusetts public schools have learned
and what the economy demands.
• Although the world around us is rapidly changing and adapting to new
technologies, many of our school buildings and infrastructure is not. We must
make sure that all schools are equipped with up-to-date technologies so that our
students can remain competitive in an increasingly global economy.
As a Cambridge City Councillor, Leland has worked tirelessly to
strengthen the quality of public education in Cambridge, fighting for
expanded wraparound services, additional teacher training and an
Office of College Success. He voted in favor of new infrastructure that
provides all of Cambridge’s students with access to state-of-the-art
technologies, and developed a program to bring broadband internet to
students in Cambridge Public Housing.
In his role as an Executive Committee member of the Massachusetts
Technology Collaborative, Leland is part of the team charged with
expanding broadband access to schools, libraries, and other public
buildings in underserved communities across the state.
Leland deeply believes that the primary responsibility of society is to educate
the next generation, and that every child should have access to a high quality
public pre-K-12 education. We must ensure that we provide adequate funding
to school districts so that teachers and students have the resources they need
to excel. Leland supports empowering teachers to implement innovative
teaching practices so students succeed in and out of the classroom, and other
• Expanded focus on STEAM education to prepare graduates for the
economy we will build for the future;
• Parental liaisons in schools to ensure all parents are engaged and
involved in their child’s education;
• Public-private partnerships with vocational / technology schools and
community colleges to train all students about their future fields; and
• Increased improvement of public education infrastructure.
As a parent himself, Leland understands the desire every parent feels for the
opportunity and choice to send their kids to a high-performing, high-results
school. Leland believes that any discussion about charter schools and caps in
underserved communities must address issues so far unaddressed:
• When charter schools were introduced, they promised to be test beds
and innovation laboratories to develop new techniques that could improve public
schools and allow all students to benefit, not just those who win the lottery;
that hasn’t happened.
• As the only candidate who’s served in local government for the past five
Leland understands that the funding mechanism needs to be revisited so
not pulling resources out of the same public systems we’re trying to improve.
• Leland is outcomes focused. Any conversation that begins about Charter
Schools is missing the broader picture. The primary goal is ensuring
receives a quality eduction; how our system is structured detracts from that
Since 2001, public higher education funding has seen a decline of 25
percent in real dollars ($366.1 million). In response, public higher
education institutions have been forced to increase tuition, reduce course
offerings and student support services, and rely increasingly on adjunct
While the cost of educating a student in a public institution of higher
education in Massachusetts is approximately $49,000, that public
graduate will contribute a net of more than $98,000 to the state after
Increased tuition and other education costs create a barrier for many
students to attend college, especially low income students, and often
result in high debts for years after graduation.
As the first currently-enrolled student to be elected to the Cambridge City
Council, Leland has developed a strong record advocating on behalf of
college students in Cambridge and across the Commonwealth.
Leland has fought to increase campus safety, educate students about their
voting rights and rights as tenants, and advocated on behalf of increased
on-campus housing for students to ensure nobody is left out in the cold.
Leland has gone on record opposing increases to student loan interest
rates, and has called on Congress to lower student loan interest rates to
keep students in the best possible position to transition into a successful
Leland worked to develop partnerships amongst local universities and
surrounding businesses to aide graduates in their quest to obtain stable
employment after graduating.
Leland will call for increased funding to all of Massachusetts’ public higher
education institutions so that they can maintain a high standard of excellence in
academics, student life, and infrastructure maintenance.
Leland will work to develop robust partnerships between industries and
institutions, including local business partners, to develop training programs and job
placement programs for students attending public universities. We must make
sure all students have the training and support they need to stay in Massachusetts
and fill local jobs.
Leland will work to expand state grant programs to low-income students to ensure
that no deserving student is forced to abandon a college education due to
prohibitive costs. He will work with the Attorney General and federal delegation to
connect students with responsible financial aid. We must ensure that all students
clearly understand the financial aid program that they are entering and that they
are aware of the different options that exist for them.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts isn’t experiencing as much economic
development as it could be due to the massive skills gap that leaves many
employers without the trained workers they need to fill desks at their
companies. We must be cognizant that essential training doesn’t end when an
individual graduates and begins their career. As our economy changes and
evolves, it is imperative that we ensure that all of our workers have the tools they
need to keep up with it. Not all of this training is provided by the public sector, but
it is our duty to ensure that any individual has the option to continue their
education and learn new skills if they have the drive to do so.
Leland will work to develop robust partnerships between public schools, non-profit
institutions, labor-management apprenticeship programs, vocational programs,
community colleges, and specialized training programs to make sure that we are
teaching our workers the skills they need for jobs available now and the jobs of the
future. On the Cambridge City Council, Leland worked to find ways that the
Cambridge Works program might affiliate itself with the Boston Building Pathways
program to train our workforce to enter building apprenticeship programs.