As your Senator, I have invested a great portion of my efforts in expanding educational opportunities and finding solutions for schools throughout the Commonwealth. If Massachusetts were a standalone country, we would rank top ten in the world for reading, science, and math. However, our education system also has one of the worst achievement gaps that puts low-income or disadvantaged students at a loss. That is why I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Joint Committee on Education to strive for heightened quality in academics in the South Shore and across the state.
I supported the report of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, which set forth recommendations to overhaul and modernize the way Massachusetts funds our public schools. We have not had comprehensive education funding reform since 1993, so the House and Senate passed a bill that would implement the FBRC’s recommendations. I was proud to be selected to serve as a member of Conference Committee to pass this bill, and we will be continuing our work into the next legislative session.
The Plymouth & Norfolk district will be awarded $71.3 million in state aid to public elementary and secondary schools for the 2019 fiscal year, which is a $3 million increase from the time I was sworn in. The South Shore is lucky to be home to state of the art educational facilities and exemplary faculty, and we are always working with local governments to secure added resources for each school.
While Charter schools present their own set of opportunities, I believe in investing in higher quality public schools first. Charter schools divert significant state funding from public schools and have no oversight by local School Committees. We have also seen discriminatory acceptance statistics and the risk of failure. I want to see our existing schools improved to their greatest potential before we invest in alternative education methods.