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Mike was one of 41 members of the House to vote against No Child Left Behind (NCLB). He feared the legislation would give states and municipalities the burden of mandates without enough money to fulfill them. He also disagreed with the legislation’s overemphasis on standardized testing as the almost sole measure by which to gauge student achievement.
No Child Left Behind was finally reauthorized in 2015 when The Student Success Act became law. Mike supported this bipartisan effort which directed more money to our educational systems for training and program expansion, and gave administrators the ability to consider many factors in measuring success besides just test scores.
Mike is fortunate that dozens of colleges and universities call his district home. Between students and college employees, members of the academic community constitute a large part of his constituency. Colleges and universities are major employers and economic engines for the Commonwealth.
Mike has voted to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the form used by families to apply for college financial aid. That same legislation also directed all funding for federal student loans through the Direct Loan Program. He also supports increasing the maximum Pell Grant which stands at $5,775.
Mike recognizes that a good education requires not simply a sound education policy but also requires that our children have access to health care, adequate nourishment, housing and a healthy home environment. He has consistently supported programs that direct resources to our children such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and nutrition assistance programs.
As Mayor of Somerville, Mike invested heavily in the construction of new schools. When his tenure as Mayor ended, Somerville had two new schools and four others in the process of being revitalized. All were equipped with the infrastructure necessary to accommodate future technologies. When Mike left the Mayor’s office to enter Congress, class sizes in Somerville averaged a remarkably low 19 students, an accomplishment for any municipality, let alone a city of over 75,000. During Mike’s tenure, young children had access to free full day kindergarten, which was not commonly available in other communities at that time.