Category: Colin Jones

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Excellence for All: Supporting English Language Learners in Massachusetts

Massachusetts policy since 2002 has emphasized English immersion as the primary approach to educating English Language Learners. A balanced review of the research reveals, however, that there is generally more evidence supporting bilingual programs. The evidence also suggests that the most important factor for helping ELL students to succeed is the quality of the programs offered.

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Learning Uninterrupted: Supporting Positive Culture and Behavior in Schools

As Massachusetts schools move beyond strict zero tolerance discipline policies, the report examines how school districts could implement reforms that reduce student suspensions and foster a positive learning environment. The analysis estimates how much it might cost to implement these reforms in Massachusetts school districts.

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Issue in Brief: Vocational Education

A two-page summary of Skills For OurFuture, the report on vocational education.

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Skills For Our Future: Vocational Education in Massachusetts

As educators prepare our young people with the skills to thrive in the years ahead, vocational education is a growing focus of education debates. Enrollment in career, vocational and technical education has grown. Demand for such programs is outpacing supply, especially in Gateway Cities which have some of the longest waiting lists to enter these programs. Studies of successful examples of vocational programs within traditional high schools, regional vocational schools, and in-district vocational schools show common elements necessary to success. The cost of addressing existing waitlists are estimated.

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Building a Strong Economy: The Roles of Education, Transportation, and Tax Policy

Effective economic policies can create a more highly productive state economy and make it possible to improve economic opportunity and security for working families. This paper examines the economic research on the relationship between effective investments in education and transportation and improved economic productivity. The paper also examines the economic effects of tax reforms that can fund those investments.

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Race to Equity: The State of Black Massachusetts

This report examines progress and obstacles on the path to creating a Commonwealth where all people of every race and background have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

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Debt-Free Public Higher Education: What Would It Take?

Expanding access to affordable higher education would directly help tens of thousands of students in Massachusetts, and their families. In addition to giving more of our young people the opportunity to go to college, over the long term expanding access to quality, affordable, higher education would increase the productivity of our workforce and the strength of our state economy. This paper examines options for making public higher education more affordable in Massachusetts, including making it possible for young people to graduate from college debt free.

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FAQ: Expanding School Meals and Implications for School Funding Formulas

Massachusetts schools are phasing-in a set of improvements to their school meals programs. These changes help ensure that more kids eat healthy meals every day they’re learning at school, and yet, for technical reasons, they have forced the state to consider some changes to how it distributes school funding. This FAQ explains these issues, with a focus on how they affect our Chapter 70 education aid formula.

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The Right Size for Learning: Class Sizes in Massachusetts

Children have a better chance to succeed in school when they receive individualized support and attention. Smaller class sizes are one way to help our teachers meet the needs of each child. This paper examines the evidence on how class size reductions can improve outcomes and expand opportunity for all of our children, particularly those who face the greatest obstacles.

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Opening the Process: Releasing Maintenance Budgets to the Public

Maintenance budgets are estimates of what it would take for the state to maintain services at the same level as prior years. These budgets are also often called current services baselines, as they allow comparison of budget proposals to the baseline of what is currently provided. Maintenance budgets are the first step in our state’s budget process, but they are rarely made public in a standard way.

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