Since 1993, MA hasn't been spending enough money on public K-12 education, and finally after decades of delay, the legislature passed a $1.5B school funding bill. However, we've already seen the initial funding timeline delayed
Our public higher education system is out of reach for many. Lack of appropriate funding to the UMass system has resulted in tuition and fee hikes. Spending per pupil is down 31% in the last two decades. We must pass the Cherish Act to get funding levels back up.
Standardized testing is a favorite tool of privatizers who want to use poor test scores against school districts rather than funding them appropriately. We won a victory in 2020 with the cancellation of all MCAS requirements due to Covid, but now we need to make that permanent.
Allocates $600M new funding for our public higher education system
Establishes a fair minimum funding level per student to ensure funding keeps pace with enrollments
Freezes tuition and fees for five years to ensure higher ed is in reach of all students who want to attend
Establishes a moratorium on standardized testing being a requirement for high school graduation
Creates a grant program for school districts to establish task forces to develop alternative assessment models
Mandates at least 20 minutes of safe, unstructured recess time per day for children in grades K-5
Prohibits schools from decreasing time allotted for recess because of program or curriculum changes
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Public school funding comes primarily from two places: the state, and the city/town school district. The state consistently underfunds all public schools, but wealthier cities and towns use their own funds to make up the difference between the “foundation budget” and the actual cost of giving students a quality education. This practice perpetuates inequalities, as wealthier districts can afford to put extra money into their schools, while schools in poorer districts are severely underfunded. The state’s wealthiest school districts spend over 40% more per student than the state’s poorest school districts.
Further reading: MassBudget: Building an Education System that Works for Everyone
It is a myth that public schools cannot use funding efficiently. In fact, many public schools have been increasing class sizes in an effort to save money, and many public school teachers have to buy their own supplies.
The Foundation Budget Review Commission (“FBRC”) has already researched what a reasonable budget would be for a public school. The FBRC was a bipartisan group; their findings should not have been controversial. The problem is not a lack of research; the problem is a lack of political will on Beacon Hill to fund education.