[Editor’s note: I recently wondered aloud if Sen. Lewis would be as passionate an advocate for the FBRC recommendations as Sen. Chang-Diaz, whom he replaces on the committee. Here he makes his case. After the fold, I’ve added a paragraph from his post on his site.
So the question remains: If the substance of the bill shall remain the same, why did Sen. President Spilka switch out the personnel? – Charley]
After I was appointed last week to serve as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, I’ve been thinking hard about the various achievement gaps in Massachusetts public schools. I shared these thoughts on my Facebook page and Twitter, but I wanted to also offer my thoughts to the BMG community. I’d also encourage you to read my recent op-ed column on education funding!
While we should celebrate the Commonwealth’s national leadership in student performance and educational excellence, we must also redouble our efforts to address unacceptable achievement and opportunity gaps that plague our low-income students, students of color, and English language learners. It is both a moral and economic imperative that we address these fundamental inequities.
Ensuring that all of our schools receive adequate and equitable funding, particularly in low-income communities, was the issue that originally motivated me to run for the state legislature. I have a longstanding commitment to fixing our school funding formula, including filing the legislation that created the Foundation Budget Review Commission.
I’m excited to work with my Senate and House colleagues, the Baker administration, and all education stakeholders to achieve the policy and funding reforms we need to ensure that every student in Massachusetts can thrive.
Jason Lewis is the state senator for the 5th Middlesex district, which includes Malden, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, and precincts 1, 2, 3, and 8 of Winchester. Like State Senator Lewis on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
[From Lewis’s column:]
Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz has re-filed legislation known as the Education PROMISE Act, and I’m proud to co-sponsor and help champion the passage of this bill. It would fully implement all the recommendations of the FBRC, which would lead to major improvements in the adequacy and equity of school funding in the Commonwealth. In addition to passing the Education PROMISE Act, we will also need to raise additional funding to enable the state to fully meet its obligations. This is why I’m committed to leading the effort to pass the Fair Share Amendment or millionaire’s tax in Massachusetts (more on this initiative in a future column).