EDUCATION

Shannon has been a strong supporter of public school education for her entire life and comes from a family of public school teachers, including her mother, grandmother, brother, cousins, and mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law was active in initiating new community programs in public schools in San Francisco, serving first as a bilingual teacher and counselor, and then founding a program to ensure that parents in the community were connected to resources for health, mental health, and parental education classes on how to support their children in school. Her family’s background has made her a lifelong champion of public education and strengthened her commitment to fighting for our public schools, students, and teachers. 

Shannon will be a champion for public education as Attorney General and stand up for students, teachers, and professional education staff.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

    1. Support our public schools; 
    2. Support public school teachers and education staff;
    3. Ensure students are safe, respected, and affirmed in schools;
    4. Protect student loan borrowers;
    5. Support pathways to higher education.

Support Our Public Schools

As a lifelong supporter of public education, Shannon is committed to ensuring that our public schools get the resources they need and deserve. While the passage of the Student Opportunity Act in 2019 was a major victory for equitable school funding, we must ensure that it is fully implemented in the years to come. Shannon will advocate for sustainable progressive revenue so that our students enjoy school facilities that are safe, healthy, and green, and support their education and well-being.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Advocate for additional revenue and resources, including the Fair Share Amendment;
      • Ensure that the Student Opportunity Act is fully implemented and that local educators, parents, and school committee members have a central role in determining how funds are spent; 
      • Advocate for the elimination of high stakes standardized testing such as MCAS;
      • Continue to oppose lifting the cap on charter schools;
      • Oppose state takeovers of public school districts through receivership.

Support Public School Teachers and Education Staff

Teachers and education staff are vital public servants who shape our children’s lives and guide their education. Despite their contributions, they remain underappreciated. Shannon will be a champion for teachers, faculty, and education staff and fight to ensure fair pay, dignified working conditions, and stronger collective bargaining rights.

As Attorney General, Shannon will: 

      • Support lifting the ban on public employees engaging in strikes;
      • Fight to ensure that municipal employees are covered by the Commonwealth’s minimum wage and Paid Family and Medical Leave laws;
      • Advocate for a full cost of living increase every year for retired public employees to protect their pensions from the ravages of inflation.

Ensure Students Are Safe, Respected, and Affirmed in Schools

Our schools should be safe havens for students to be able to learn, grow, and express themselves. Despite our strong antidiscrimination laws, students of color are still subjected to discriminatory disparate disciplinary practices in Massachusetts and over-policed by police in schools. LGBTQ youth continue to report higher rates of bullying, violence, and lack of support in schools compared to their non-LGBTQ peers. Shannon has never hesitated to take on schools for racist disciplinary practices and discriminatory policies as a civil rights lawyer and she will take the same strong approach as Attorney General.

As Attorney General, Shannon will fight for legislation to:

      • Disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and investigate schools for instances of racist disciplinary practices against students of color;
      • Proactively enforce the new school policing memorandum of understanding (MOU) law to ensure school districts are in compliance;
      • Investigate instances of discrimination against students with disabilities and ensure that school districts have the resources they need to support students with disabilities;
      • Ramp up enforcement of our strong gun laws and create new tools for the Attorney General’s Office to combat gun violence and ensure our students are safe in schools;
      • Advocate for greater resources to support LGBTQ students in schools, as well as LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum.

Protect Student Loan Borrowers

Before and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many student loan borrowers have struggled with overwhelming student debt. More than one million student loan borrowers in Massachusetts deal with a predatory student loan servicing industry which routinely works against borrowers’ best interests and steers them into options that add even more interest to their loans. Research has further shown that the student loan debt crisis disproportionately impacts Black borrowers, with one recent study finding that young Black adults take on 85% more education debt than their white counterparts, further exacerbating the already obscene racial wealth gap.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Advocate for student loan forgiveness;
      • Support making tuition and mandatory curriculum fees free at public colleges and universities;
      • Ensure that the recently-enacted Student Loan Borrower’s Bill of Rights is strongly enforced;
      • Ensure that the Student Loan Ombudsperson Office has the resources it needs to resolve complaints from student borrowers and monitor student loan servicers;
      • Increase multilingual outreach efforts from the Student Loan Ombudsperson Office to student borrowers, particularly in communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the student debt crisis;
      • Decertify private servicers of federal student loans who routinely violate the state Student Loan Borrower’s Bill of Rights and engage in predatory behavior; 
      • Ensure student loan lenders implement public service loan forgiveness and similar loan repayment plans designed to ease the burden on borrowers;
      • Investigate and remedy any loan servicing failures that are unfairly burdening borrowers with unwarranted additional costs.

Support Pathways to Higher Education

Strong, supportive, and accessible pathways to higher education are essential to economic growth and the creation of good jobs. Shannon is a strong supporter of all pathways to higher education and job opportunities, including traditional 4-year colleges and universities, expanding access to community colleges and vocational schools, and opportunities in the trades and apprenticeship programs.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Support increased funding for public higher education with the goals of the proposed Cherish Act;
      • Support legislation to guarantee debt-free public higher education for students attending public colleges or universities, or certificate, vocational or training programs at a public institutions; 
      • Partner with unions to promote apprenticeship programs and other opportunities in the trades.