Higher Ed Advocates: Cherish Act Could Help Counter Supreme Court Decisions
Monday, July 3, 2023
Education advocates in Massachusetts say state lawmakers could help counter the Supreme Court's recent decisions to end affirmative action and student-loan forgiveness.
Supporters of the Cherish Act say it provides a blueprint for high-quality, debt-free education to every resident of the Commonwealth.
Massachusetts Teachers Association President Max Page said eliminating student debt is an essential investment and a step toward achieving racial and economic justice.
"That will help solve one important part of the inequity," said Page, "which is that students of color - because of long-standing racism in this country - have much less wealth."
Massachusetts has the fastest-growing public college costs in the nation, while the average student borrower within Massachusetts public colleges has nearly $32,000 in student loans.
Student debt in the Commonwealth was a driving force behind last year's passage of the Fair Share Amendment, allocating revenue from a new "millionaire's tax" toward public education and transportation.
Page said the funding could make college more accessible and help ensure more diverse student bodies.
"To study together, to learn together, to argue with one another over important issues," said Page, "this is the way we build young people who will be citizens in an active democracy."
Page said the student-debt crisis is also linked to the shortage of educators.
He said the state will soon implement the Tomorrow's Teachers Scholarship Program, offering free education to eligible students pursuing a teaching degree to work in Massachusetts public schools.
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