The following is a media release from Massachusetts Parents United.
BOSTON – Hundreds of parents from school districts across the state marched to the State House on Tuesday, May 14, to call for legislation that brings education equity, accountability and transparency for all children.
The group was organized by Massachusetts Parents United (MPU), the state’s largest urban parent advocacy organization with chapters in Boston, Lawrence, Lowell, Springfield, Holyoke, Lynn, Salem and New Bedford.
“It’s amazing to see hundreds of parents come together to demand equity for our kids in public education,” said Keri Rodrigues, MPU mom-in-chief. “We call upon the Legislature to make our children the center of the education funding debates in 2019, and not simply focus on the needs of adults.”
The parents met at Boston Common in the morning and marched up to the State House to advocate in front of legislators for their Parent Legislative Agenda.
MPU Parent Legislative Agenda 2019
Extra Education Funding Tied to Accountability (3 year funding cycles)
Create additional funding for school districts with achievement gaps that create additional help. To continue receiving the money, districts must show they are making progress toward improving.
Chapter 70 Formula changes
Any additional funds that a district receives as a result of changes to the state funding formula must be used in the following ways: Districts must present a plan with clear goals. The plan can be up to five years in length and must have clear, annual goals.
During that five years, the district will get the new funds each year. At the end of the five years, the district must draft a new five year plan in order to be eligible to receive more money. School systems must use the funds on one or more of the following proven strategies:
● Extend the school day or number of days in the school year
● Free full day kindergarten
● Free pre-kindergarten
● Social and emotional health services
● Behavioral health services
● Mental health services
● Implementation of LOOK Act (the amended bilingual education law)
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Funding for Accountability:
DESE must receive additional funding to make sure they have the resources needed to help struggling districts in crisis.
Chapter 70 Transparency Information (report card/website)
Require as part of chapter 70 funding that districts report comparative information at the school level on each school website and individual report cards.
On each school website the following should be comparative data (state vs school)
● Graduation rates
● Suspension rates
● Test scores
● Subgroup academics progress (English learners, Special Ed, Latinos, Black, Asian)
● Absenteeism rates
● College/Career Readiness (in the case of elementary schools reading and math levels) Updated report card information to parents (individual/school/city/state):
● Reading levels/Math levels/Science levels
● Test Scores
A district must post each school’s report on the school’s web page and compare the school’s data to statewide data.
Reform of the Advanced Placement Scoring System
Requirement for all Massachusetts public two-and four-year colleges and universities to accept for college credit a qualifying score of 3 or greater on any College Board Advanced Placement examination.
The Kane Innovation/Mind the Gap Fund
A (one-time) grant to encourage schools to invest in innovation is an area that will increase effectiveness of school operations and/or reduce achievement gaps.
Establish a $100 million competitive “school innovation and performance fund” that provides districts complete flexibility in how they use awarded funding to improve key outcome measures in closing achievement, opportunity, and skills gaps.
Breakfast After the Bell
Increasing access to school breakfast for 150,000 children in Massachusetts by instituting a statewide best practice of serving breakfast after the start of the instructional day in the highest poverty districts in the Commonwealth.
SAVE Students Act
The SAVE Students Act would require that 6-12 grade students in MA have access to evidence-based programming that teaches how to combat social isolation and build inclusive community, identify the signs and signals of interpersonal violence and suicide, and how to reach out for help, as well as create systems for responding to threats appropriately within a school community.
Massachusetts Parents United is the largest urban parent advocacy organization in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with chapters in Boston, Lawrence, Lowell, Springfield, Holyoke, Lynn, Salem, New Bedford. Learn more at www.MAparents.org.