Press Releases

August 6, 2018

Eric Nakajima Announces Education Platform Calling for Progressive Education Reform

Nakajima pledges to lead efforts on Beacon Hill to fully-fund public education and UMass Amherst

 

Eric Nakajima, candidate for state representative in the 3rd Hampshire District, announced his campaign’s education platform establishing ten major goals for progressive education reform that fully funds our schools and relieves the financial burden on municipalities and property tax payers by ending local funding for charter schools. Eric also called for creating a debt-free system of public higher education. Eric announced this agenda following the failure of the Massachusetts Legislature to come to agreement on a bill that would have improved funding for public schools.

 

“The state is chronically underfunding public education and our students, teachers and taxpayers suffer for it,” said Eric Nakajima. “We need to increase state support for education and end the 25 year experiment of forcing cities and towns to pay for the state’s charter schools. Our towns simply cannot afford it.”

 

On public higher education, Eric said: “Our state’s community colleges and UMass are absolute gems, but they are increasingly unaffordable. We need to set the goal of creating a world-class, debt-free system of public higher education and then work to get it done.”

 

Eric Nakajima’s ten point platform for progressive education reform:

  1. Full funding of public school districts, through implementation of the Chapter 70 Foundation Review Commission recommendations.

  2. Creation of a separate state line item for funding charter schools, removing charter school funding from Chapter 70 and eliminating or capping local school districts tuition payments to charter schools (if capped the maximum tuition would be the school choice tuition of $5,000 per student).

  3. Increased funding for preschool with the goal of universal preschool in Massachusetts.

  4. End the use of high-stakes testing for student graduation and advancement and focus on ensuring high-quality, whole child learning from preschool through high school.

  5. Full funding of other education accounts, including Regional Transportation and Special Education Circuit Breaker.

  6. Establish a program at the Massachusetts School Building Authority to provide financial incentives to school districts to build zero-energy schools or include clean energy co-generation as part of school building repairs and retrofits.

  7. Establish a multi-year plan for a world-class, debt free system of public higher education in Massachusetts.

  8. Immediately re-establish the UMass/State Legislative 50/50 plan that freezes tuition and fees by providing state support for 50 percent of the total cost of a student’s education.

  9. Immediately adopt a plan to provide state support for tuition free community college.

  10. To fund these priorities, Massachusetts should adopt a progressive income tax and seek other revenue sources prior to adoption of a revised Fair Share Amendment.

 

Eric Nakajima brings extensive experience to advocating for public education.  Eric comes from a family of public school teachers and graduated from the Amherst Schools and UMass Amherst. Eric Nakajima currently serves as the Chair of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District, a position he has held since October 2016.  Eric has advocated for public higher education since he attended UMass Amherst, serving as a student member of the UMass Board of Trustees in 1989-1990.  In addition, Eric served on the UMass Amherst Alumni Association Board of Directors.  In 2016, Eric actively campaigned against Question 2, which would have expanded the number of charter schools in Massachusetts.

 

As a member of the school committee, Eric and his colleagues have led successful efforts to:

  • Establish the most progressive anti-food shaming policy in the state – one that also improves outreach to families that need help paying for meals.

  • Set a new policy to protect undocumented immigrants in our schools – training staff on how to interact with ICE and providing resources to families in need.

  • Fought the expansion of charter schools in our area that would have drained hundreds of thousands of dollars from our budget.

  • And made progress on social justice goals – like a new restorative justice program at the high school and planning for a dual-language immersion elementary school.

 

####

Committee to Elect Eric Nakajima, Ann Morgan, Treasurer.

592 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002