Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Council on Fair School Finance is back, they have the data, and they're ready for action

The Council for Fair School Finance, the coalition behind McDuffy and Hancock, has reformed (disclaimer: MASC is a member), and they've issued a white paper reviewing where we are and what happens next. I'd urge you to read it all (it's nine pages), but some highlights:
The court’s decision in Hancock was guided by the hope that the Commonwealth eventually would attain compliance with its constitutional mandate through the continued dedication of much-needed financial support,and through diligence in reviewing the funding scheme to keep up with the "demands of modern society."
That has not happened.
Since Hancock, however, the Commonwealth has faltered. Its "reforms" — charter schools, high-stakes testing, “empowerment zones,”and outright school and district takeovers — have not improved education, closed the achievement gap, or provided communities in need with the financial resources to meet their constitutional duty.
The five lowest performing districts in the Commonwealth are majority-minority districts, with over 60 percent student-of-color enrollment. By contrast, among the top quintile of highest performing districts in the state, only one mostly enrolls students of color...Across the state, less than 30 percent of the students at the highest performing quintile of districts are children of color, compared to 64.6 percent of students in the lowest performing quintile and the state average of 41 percent... the level of education that Black and Latino Massachusetts students receive is 'more similar to that of the average student in the lowest performing states' than that of  "their more privileged peers in the Commonwealth itself."
The Commonwealth’s funding formula has an unconscionable disproportionate negative impact on students of color, who are overwhelmingly more likely to live in communities that cannot contribute money over and above minimum required local contribution.
...This inadequate school funding formula has led to a wrenching reality: segregated schools where access to the educational opportunities is dictated by the color of one’s skin.
If the educational rights of our children are not met with sufficient financial investment, particularly for those cities and towns under the most severe underfunding, the Council is prepared to seek redress in the courts

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