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(NECN: Alison King) - Charlie Baker spent his morning at Rogers Middle School in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston.
The Massachusetts Candidate for Governor was shadowing Curtis Cowts as part of the city's Principal for a day program, where leaders from government to business to the arts see the highs and lows first hand of running a Boston school.
"I'm remembering how raucous pre-teenagers are in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Mine certainly were," Baker said.
Baker has made education - along with jobs and safe communities - a top priority. He has already visited a number of schools around the state - doing more listening he says, then talking, and watching for best practices in closing the achievement gap.
"We were just in there talking about a peer to peer program they're pursuing where Teachers, in a positive way sort of watch, observe and review the performance of each other," Baker said.
Baker supports charter schools and longer school days for urban children.
He is not convinced that early education is the right course of action for all communities - citing studies that show some of the gain kids get from early ed disappear when the elementary schools aren't yet equipped to foster those gains.
"Whatever we do with early ed, we have to figure out how to make sure we sustain the gains going forward. or don't bother with the early ed? Or focus really hard on making sure the K-12 experience is everything it needs to be for the kids your trying to teach," Baker said.
Minutes away, Attorney General and Democratic candidate for Governor Martha Coakley was also shadowing a Principal.
"We're ready to make that investment in early education as well as K-8 and our high schools," Coakley said.
New Mission High is a Pilot School which gives them leeway in how they structure their classes and use their budget.
Coakley says it has been a success, adding, "What's impressed us today is the way in which they're able to cater to the needs of the students who are here. For smaller classes if necessary, for extra attention if necessary."
Coakley also supports longer school days and a restructured school year.