— Sonia Chang-Díaz (@SoniaChangDiaz) November 27, 2019
Today Governor Baker signed the education bill, which was the culmination of many years work pointing out the disparate situations in our Commonwealth’s schools, and targets a well-known solution at them: Money.
From WickedLocal Maynard:
The road map of the bill is the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations. In 2015, the FBRC convened stakeholders in the field — including educators, superintendents and policy officials — to offer analysis, amidst an evolving educational landscape, on the funding formula currently used to allocate state resources. Their recommendations are focused on stewarding the formula, and the state’s broader framework for education funding, so that students across districts have equitable access to the tools and interventions that improve outcomes.
The legislation surpasses these FBRC benchmarks through four key provisions:
• Using the Group Insurance Commission rates to address disparities in health care costs for schools’ current and retired employees.
• Meeting the comprehensive costs of special education, including transportation.
• Increasing funding for the classroom supports that improve outcomes for ELLs.
• Tackling the state’s persistent achievement gap by addressing inequities in schools that serve significant low-income populations.
Advocates for education equity are very pleased, since it hits all the goals of the Foundation Budget Review Commission. This could be the logical next step to the state’s Education Reform Act of 1993, responsible for giving MA the best public education in the country.
In the above video, Chang-Diaz gives credit to Reps. Mary Keefe of Worcester and Aaron Vega of Holyoke. Credit must go to Chairs Rep. Alice Peisch and Jason Lewis in the Senate. We doubted them. Lewis came on this site to defend his commitment to FBRC principles, even after replacing Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz as chair of the education committee, and vowed to continue her longstanding work. Well, he came through. (I note that advocates are still fighting over who gets credit; but it seems that everyone, from urban public school advocates to charter proponents, seems to be happy with the result.)
But without question, there was a tremendous amount of external pressure on them and the legislature in general, which doubtless included newly credible threats to legislators’ seats. Education equity advocates, progressives, advocates for lower-income communities — all would have gone nuclear if the House had failed yet again. The heat was on.
Good work. Let’s get more done and share more credit, Speaker DeLeo.