To the Editor:
Last week, the Student Opportunity Act was signed into law, securing $1.5 billion in new funding for K-12 public education in Massachusetts. This is a historic victory for the students, parents, union educators, and allies across the state who for years have fought tirelessly to get here.
We mailed thousands of postcards to our representatives, knocked on doors, made phone calls, and met with legislators to share the impact of the funding crisis on our public schools and families. We asserted the right of our communities to have an equitable public education system that serves the needs of all students, regardless of their background.
This funding will have a tremendous impact on communities who have endured years of disinvestment in our public education system. Low-income students, English Language Learners, students of color, and special needs students have historically been denied equitably funded public schools by the state. We have long known what our students and families need, and now we are significantly closer to accessing the resources and support that all of our students deserve.
Now that the bill has been signed into law, it is crucial that we stay engaged and keep the momentum from this victory going. Statewide, we continue to advocate for social workers and counselors in every school, adequate staffing for ELL students, and increased support for families who are experiencing housing insecurity.
Wraparound services have been inaccessible to many families throughout the Commonwealth due to disinvestment in public schools, and this funding presents an opportunity to move toward rectifying that. New funding, particularly in Boston, is also critical to improving special education inclusion throughout the district.
Our fight is not over. We must continue to work with legislators to ensure that this funding is used effectively and purposefully. In our classrooms, our communities, and at the State House, we will continue to advocate so that the voices and needs of students, educators, and families are heard.
President, Boston Teachers Union