COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133
Senator Joan B. Lovely
2nd Essex District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 21, 2021
Hinds Leads Discussion on Future of Childcare, Education and Higher Education for Post-Pandemic MA
BOSTON – State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D-Pittsfield) chairs the listening session of the Special Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency. The listening session focuses on childcare, education, higher education, and on the regional impacts in Northeastern Massachusetts. Senator Hinds is joined by fellow committee members State Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and State Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) in organizing the Committee’s panels.
“COVID exposed the vulnerabilities that we created by not investing in critical sectors of the Commonwealth. Childcare and education are central to creating an equitable and inclusive recovery,” said Senator Hinds. “Preparing for the post-pandemic workforce also means being deliberate now about how our education system contributes to that resiliency.”
In early 2021, Massachusetts State Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) announced the creation of the new Senate Special Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency. This committee will serve as a body to synthesize information and share best practices that have been developed in response to COVID-19, as well as a forum for new ideas as to how to move forward.
“As we see hope on the pandemic horizon with the accelerating pace of vaccinations, we must turn our focus to recovery. We know that many of the educational challenges in terms of equity and opportunity gaps that existed prior to the pandemic have been exacerbated, and it is our responsibility as policymakers to do everything possible to address these gaps and disparities,” said Senator Jason Lewis, Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts: Post-Pandemic Resiliency and the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “I am confident that the conversations, insights and creative solutions fostered by this committee will help inform and guide the Senate’s efforts to build a more equitable, just and resilient Commonwealth for all.”
The ‘Reimagining Committee’ was created to study, analyze and report findings on transformations in the economy, transportation and commuting needs, digital infrastructure, racial equity, housing, education, public health, and in other areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee will also examine vulnerabilities highlighted by the pandemic and how we can adapt to create a more resilient and equitable Commonwealth.
“As we look toward a post-pandemic future, these listening sessions are an important opportunity for the Committee to hear more about the needs of our residents,” said Senator Joan Lovely. “I am grateful for the opportunity to co-host this hearing on education and the Northeast region with my colleague Senator Lewis and appreciate the important perspectives of all panelists, including Mayor Kim Driscoll of Salem and Nate Bryant, Interim President of North Shore Community College. It has never been more clear that quality in-person instruction and childcare are vital to not only today’s economy but also to tomorrow’s workers and leaders.”
“Whether they are moms struggling to afford some of the most expensive care in the country, or early educators or other child care staff who are among the lowest paid workers in the state, women in Massachusetts bore the brunt of a nonexistent child care infrastructure even before COVID-19. Massachusetts has long been a leader among other states on health care and paid leave and it can once again lead on child care as we rebuild from the pandemic,” said Julie Kashen, senior fellow and director of Women’s Economic Justice at The Century Foundation.
“Black and Latino students are carrying the weight of this pandemic and the weight of systemic racism, and our education system needs to continue to address their needs on both of these fronts. We must collectively work together to close the longstanding equity gaps that exist in our education system. This is an opportunity to innovate and build back an education system that better serves the needs of Black, Latino, and students of color,” said Manny Cruz, Advocacy Director at Latinos for Education. “As a Commonwealth, we can in part accomplish this is by investing in and expanding evidence-based programs like Early College and building a diverse educator workforce that reflects the growing diversity of our student population, and providing opportunities for students of color to think about careers in education by creating an Educator pathway in the Early College Program.”
The Committee will report, from time to time, with recommendations for legislative action, strategies, and innovations based on their findings for the purpose of building back better in the wake of the pandemic and to create a more resilient state with greater opportunity for all. The Committee will also conduct research and/or consult others for that purpose, to ensure its work is grounded in the best available information, including input from stakeholders from across Massachusetts.
“One thing is clear, the urgency of this moment means we are truly looking at structural change. Band aids and incremental shifts are not what we need. This is an opportunity to rethink our systems.” said Senator Hinds.
The committee members of the Special Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency are:
- Senator Adam Hinds, Chair
- Senator Jason Lewis, Vice-Chair
- Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz
- Senator Patricia Jehlen
- Senator John Keenan
- Senator Joan Lovely
- Senator Patrick O’Connor, Ranking Minority