State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz has been receiving an education in persistence the last few years as she has continually fought for legislation that would reform education fund across the state. On Wednesday, she led a press conference to once again announce a bill to reform education funding.
Last session the House and Senate passed their own education reform bills, but couldn't agree on a funding reform package before the legislative session ended.
So that led to legislators, municipalities, teachers, students and education advocates, coming together on Wednesday to promote the passage of the Education Promise Act. The bill would reform the state's education funding formula and better serve students across Massachusetts. In Boston, the bill would, among other priorities, help the district fund the implementation of universal pre-K.
"Children across our commonwealth are waiting for us to fulfill the promise we made in our Constitution and in the 1993 Education Reform Act: that zip code should not be destiny," said Chang-Díaz. "For 25 years, we have failed to live up to that promise-first unknowingly and now, for the past three years, knowingly. Our schools are suffering from death by a thousand paper cuts. This bill isn't about providing 'new' or 'extra' funds. It's about making good on what we've already promised."
The bill intends to implement the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) recommendations, which was previously led by Chang-Díaz, which would address underlying inequities within the state's education funding formulas.
Inequities like how urban school districts such as Boston, educate the majority of economically disadvantaged, English Language Learners and special education students in the state, but the current funding formulas lead to less state funding for Boston Public School students. The city estimates that if the formulas are not changed in the next two years, Boston won't receive any state education aid to support the district's 55,000 students, according to a city press release.
Groups and organizations that attended the press conference included Massachusetts Teachers Association, Boston Teachers Union, Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators, Boston NAACP, Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership, Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, Collaborative Parent Leadership Action Network, Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials, Social Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts, Boston Higher Ground, Chelsea Collaborative, Boston Student Advisory Council, Progressive Massachusetts and TeachPlus Massachusetts.