Candidate for Mayor John Barros today released a proposal to establish a City College System for Boston that would knit together Boston’s designated Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to provide open doors for Boston Public School students to affordable post-secondary education, and industry-informed programming that will help them build the skills they need for jobs of the future. At a press conference this morning with supporters at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, Barros, a former Boston School Committee member and Chief of Economic Development for the last seven years, discussed the critical need to build a comprehensive education pipeline for “home-grown talent” that will offer accessible, affordable career-connected post-secondary education and training.
“Boston is a global hub of educational opportunity. Unfortunately, it continues to be opportunity for some, often leaving out the city’s “home grown talent” — the young women and men (most of color) who grow up in Boston neighborhoods and graduate from our public schools,” said John Barros. “Boston needs to move further, and faster, to reimagine post-secondary education for Boston students. We have the means to take control of our own destiny and to guarantee the city’s limitlessly talented young people paths to the prosperous futures that they deserve. As Mayor, I intend to deliver on that plan.”
In recent years, Boston has made some progress in offering Boston’s young people affordable access to post-secondary options, namely Tuition Free Community College and City Academy, which Barros helped to design and implement, but also with committed partners like Success Boston.
“I’m extremely proud of the programs we designed and established over the last seven years that have laid the groundwork for larger education pipeline reform and increased access and affordability for BPS students,” said Barros. “However, I believe more can be done to complete the spectrum of programs to eventually add up to the guarantee of affordable, and eventually free, post-secondary training that is both widely accessible, easy to navigate, and modernized for careers of the future for Boston’s young people.”
Part of Barros’ plan proposes to align curricula for workforce readiness, integrate administrative functions for easier communication and collaboration, and establish dual enrollment for BPS students to earn credits prior to graduation. Additionally, Barros will create resources for a set of colleges in the city that have already proven their commitments to Black and Brown youth, and have demonstrated their abilities to connect them to career opportunities and prepare them for civic leadership.
“This transformative ‘first’ for Boston will catalyze new public/private investment, boost participating schools’ economic stability, and most importantly, open opportunity to higher education, workforce training, and educational supports to Boston’s ‘home-grown talent,’ especially Black and Brown and low-income youth who are too often locked out of educational opportunity with today’s fragmented post-secondary system,” said Barros.
This plan is the fifth announcement of the Barros campaign’s ‘Education Week,’ during which Barros is sharing his comprehensive, innovative, and realistic education policy platform. Earlier this week Barros called for a $4 billion school building campaign to ensure that every Boston student has access to world-class quality schools and state-of-the-art campus spaces in their neighborhood from birth to when they begin a career. John’s education platform also includes plans to restructure, reinvest, and revitalize Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, pilot a Guaranteed Minimum Income pilot for early educators and childcare workers throughout Boston, and establish Boston’s first ‘Education Innovation District.’
“I’ve introduced plans that span the spectrum of education — from childhood development to quality seats in every neighborhood to investing in vocational training for jobs of the future. If we can get students to fall in love with learning or a certain career but we don’t offer an affordable and accessible pathway to continue, then we are failing them. I intend to make those investments to expand educational opportunities from birth to school to career, so that we can make measured progress towards closing the opportunity, education, and wage gap for Boston’s students and our future generations,” said Barros.