I believe that improving education is the key to getting Rhode Island’s economy moving again. As an elected official and community leader, I have worked tirelessly to improve public education and ensure that every Rhode Island child has access to a great education.
As Mayor of Cumberland, I’ve invested more than $50 million in improving our district schools. I helped create a full-day kindergarten program, and worked to improve our high school’s performance scores. Now, the Cumberland School District is one of the fastest improving in the Rhode Island.
On a state level, I commissioned the report that provided the template for our current “money follows the child” funding policy. I was instrumental in helping the state develop a per-pupil funding formula that benefited four-out-of-five students. And, I championed legislation that created the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies, mayor-governed regional public schools that are some of the best public schools in the state.
As lieutenant governor, I’d take this same approach and drive and apply it to improving education across Rhode Island. I’d start by working to establish an Education Endowment Fund. This fund would be used to guarantee every public school graduate is able to attend college by assessing their financial need and covering the difference in tuition, because no student should be denied a chance to go to college because of financial reasons.
I also would work to increase our state’s education quotient by adding 50,000 degrees here in Rhode Island in the next eight years. I’d do this by working with business leaders, labor organizations, state and local governments and education advocates to identify and match potential students and educational opportunities.