A big part of our national idealism rests on the ideas of free, universal public education; a literate, well-informed electorate, and the development of American arts and culture rivalling that of the Old World. These values have been important for our commonwealth as well: we’re the home of the first public school in this nation (Boston Latin School, 1635); the first place on this continent to make it compulsory for towns to establish schools (Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1642); the home of Horace Mann – I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point, which is that my values and dreams presuppose access to education and culture in all its forms.
Our public schools are the educational default setting for every child – even homeless children are entitled to a free, public education. Public schools are the backbone of our educational system; public higher education offers (relatively) affordable options for those who aspire to higher learning. Libraries supplement schools, and provide the tools for self-directed education, and, in Massachusetts at least, virtually every community has programming and institutions in which anyone can develop their creativity, or enjoy the artistic expression of others.