“It’s the foundation of our future economic development plans; having a school system where everyone has that opportunity to succeed and achieve. And our expectation is, no matter where you are from, no matter what your income level, your status, you will have the same opportunity. My kids are in the school system, they’re getting a tremendous education in the Somerville public schools, but it is challenging in the urban school districts, and having leaders at the state and federal level that understand the different challenges that cities and towns, and where they are, and what they’re facing is critical to help us, to give us the tools to succeed.”
~ Joe Curtatone
Joe On The Record:
Education: our most important renewable resource | by Joe Curtatone, Somerville News (Op-Ed), 9/7/2012
But can you imagine this city’s economy, cultural life or future well being without the lift provided by a strong public school system or the advantages of our location at the center of the Tufts-Harvard-MIT triangle? I certainly can’t. And in an era when, after years of declines in enrollment, Somerville’s public school population is on the rise again, can you imagine cutting back on the resources that give our young people the skills and the knowledge they need to succeed? It would be a sin against our responsibilities as a community – and against our long-term economic self-interest. …
If we want to build a strong future for our city, we need to be leaders in both areas of educational development: On the public education front, we need to do the best possible job of preparing our young people for the jobs of the future. On the economic development front, we need to leverage our skilled workforce, our convenient location and our new development zones across the city to attract new technology players that are getting squeezed out of an increasingly congested and expensive Kendall Square and other innovation enclaves. …
As we continue to improve our schools, we reinforce the message that Somerville is a great place to raise a family, and we add to the long list of reasons why skilled professionals will want to build their lives and careers here in Somerville. In turn, that allows us to tell innovation-industry employers that Somerville is a perfect location for a start-up that needs room to grow in a community that has the workers, infrastructure, services, amenities and quality of life they need to thrive and grow. At every level, public investment in education (and in basic research) should remain a high priority both for the nation as a whole and for Somerville in particular.
School pride | by Joe Curtatone, Somerville News (Op-Ed), 6/17/2011
You see, our schools are not treading water, just trying to do what they have been doing. And they are not only looking into a small number of modest improvements. Our schools are looking to set regional and national standards in terms of instruction, curriculum and student activities. …
For instance, the high school will be expanding the biotech curriculum for which it was recently named the Innovative School of the Year by the Massachusetts Biotech Council. Our music program will be expanding, unlike other communities which are scaling back music programs, charging expensive activity fees for those programs, or just eliminating music instruction altogether. In the next year, there will be more computers and smartboards in our classrooms. The system will be adding four new instructional coaches to help boost student achievement in specific areas of our curriculum, like science and history. Afterschool foreign language and robotics programs are being added.