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Letter From Director

I know firsthand just how valuable a good education can be. My wife, Susie, and I founded the Longfield Family Foundation in 2007 to help all children to have the chance to learn and succeed in school, and to prepare them to do well in the rest of their lives. Our mission is to improve urban public education for grades Pre-kindergarten through 12 in the Boston area and beyond. We are committed to offering financial gifts and hands-on support, in order to improve current schools.  More importantly, we are seeking new approaches to transform the public school system in profound and lasting ways.

I am proof that the public education system can work. My parents were not college educated. In fact, my father did not even have a high school diploma. But they believed in the system. And it worked for me. I attended Boston Public Schools, where I received an excellent education that prepared me to attend Harvard University. I was the first person in my family to ever go to college.

But the system has failed, and continues to fail, far too many children. The statistics are grim. In 2015, the four-year graduation rate for all students in Boston was 65% percent. That figure is actually high compared to many other cities in the country, but when considered in terms of what it means for our region’s young people, it is far too low. I have worked as a middle school and high school math teacher, so the children being hurt by inferior educational opportunities are not just statistics to me. My thoughts on education reform have been influenced by the time I spent working in the BPS. With my success as a technology entrepreneur, I want to give back to the system that helped me by inspiring and supporting real change that will allow all children to receive the high-quality education they deserve and require.

Reform will require bold vision and ongoing collaboration. The Longfield Family Foundation plans to work with the best experts in the field – the principals, teachers, parents and students who understand the current system’s problems better than anybody else does. We will support them to create their ideal schools.

The time for change is now. For too long, we have wrung our hands about the condition of our urban public schools without doing enough to fix them. Adult concerns about policy and funding have diverted our attention from where it really belongs; on the kids we should be helping. We support Superintendent Tommy Chang in his 2015 statement to the Boston School Committee that,

“It is the role of school system leaders to foster innovation and create environments where teaching and learning can truly be transformed. To create such an environment, there must be genuine empathy and authentic collaboration- where relationships can be formed and best practices can be shared. Only in this way can we truly inspire excellence.”

All endeavors should be reviewed to make sure their focus is on the children we serve. Together, we will prove that all children can learn.