MTA announces strong support for Education Promise Act

MTA announces strong support for Education Promise Act

Fund Our Future
Ed Promise Act Announcement

Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz at the official announcement of the Education Promise Act.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association today announced its strong support for the Education Promise Act, legislation that would provide urgently needed funds for public schools across the Commonwealth.

“Our schools and public higher education system are badly underfunded,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy. “Our students can’t wait. It is time for the Legislature and the governor to address this crisis.

“We have many excellent public schools in Massachusetts, but we also have huge disparities in opportunities and resources.”

MTA President Merrie Najimy

“For our public schools, that means passing the Education Promise Act this year, along with a second bill that will be filed soon to restore public higher education funding to 2001 levels,” Najimy continued. “Together, these bills will be the focus of the larger Fund Our Future campaign, a coalition effort to make sure that our public education system — from prekindergarten through college — allows our students and our Commonwealth to flourish.”

Filed by state Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston) and Representatives Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke) and Mary Keefe (D-Worcester), the Education Promise Act would update the foundation budget formula for our public schools, increasing state Chapter 70 funding by more than $1 billion a year when fully phased in. A similar bill filed in the last session passed in the Senate but failed in the House.

“As a result of this failure, school districts across the state are once again robbing Peter to pay Paul — taking money from some essential services to fund other programs and mandates,” said MTA Vice President Max Page. “Once again, students are not receiving the educational services guaranteed by our state’s Constitution.”

“The lack of funding is particularly acute in our Gateway Cities and lower-income rural communities,” said Najimy. “Teachers, administrators, education support professionals and parents in these districts speak with one voice when we say that all students deserve a great education, including small class sizes; art, music and other enrichment programs; well-staffed libraries; counselors and wraparound services to address our students’ social, emotional and academic needs; and adequate staffing levels to serve students with special needs, those learning English and low-income students.

“We have many excellent public schools in Massachusetts, but we also have huge disparities in opportunities and resources,” she added. “It is grossly unfair that students in some districts are taught in classes with 30 students while students in others attend classes with an average size of 15 students.”

“The MTA believes that the Education Promise Act will help improve equity, promote opportunity and benefit students, educators and the common good,” Page said. “Coupled with a second bill to restore public higher education funding and reduce crushing student debt, it will help make Massachusetts a true leader in funding our Commonwealth’s future.”