MILTON, NOV. 9 - This week I spoke to hundreds of middle school students from Milton visiting the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate in Dorchester. This morning’s talk capped off a week that saw the results of a much-anticipated election cycle as well as the signing of civics education bill here in the Commonwealth.
I spoke about my origin story in terms of moving from disaster response field work and the nonprofit sector to elected office and government. Sharing my perspective on working to improve the quality of life for others and the difference between medium-size charitable organizations and the scale of government is something I enjoy doing because, as I told the students, I want them to learn about what is possible and for them to think about how they might do things the same or differently some day in their lives.
Now, more than ever, we need the next generation to be engaged politically and educated on issues of importance to our country and our community. Places like the EMK Institute do so much to spark a passion in our students, and we need to continue to encourage their good work. It is a gem in our Commonwealth, and a major educational resource on the way government works in the United States.
This week the Governor signed legislation passed by the House and Senate earlier in the year aimed at increasing Massachusetts' civics education requirements, establishing a high school voter challenge, and requiring public schools to provide a student-led civics project for eighth graders and high schoolers. I am hopeful that this civics legislation will go a long way toward achieving the goal of educating our youth about process and politics in our Commonwealth and beyond.