MA Should Move $500M In School Funding To Poorer Districts: Study

MASSACHUSETTS — More than two-thirds of the state education funding that goes to school districts without regard to need goes to the wealthiest 20 percent of school districts and should be reallocated, according to a report released Monday.

While $5 billion in state education funding is earmarked for lower-income school districts, the report by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce focuses on the $800 million that is allocated on a “blind-need” basis without regard to need or income levels.

“If ever there was a moment to promote equity in funding education, now is the time to do it,” Ed Lambert, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education said. “For every dollar we send to communities that can afford to fund schools on their own we’re moving further, not closer, to equity.”

In November, the state legislature passed a $1.5 billion education bill aimed at providing more state aid to lower-income school districts. But Monday’s report argues that the Massachusetts legislature needs to do more to get state education dollars to the poorest-performing districts. The report recommends an incremental reallocation, starting with $25 million of the blind-need funding going to the wealthier districts.

“Within a system we built and we designed, we reinforced inequities by having these categories of funding go to cities and towns that don’t really need it while others are struggling to educate and provide funding to those who really need it,” Jim Rooney, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, said. “Many of those are low-income black and brown communities, so this is what systemic inequality is.”

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