Massachusetts benefits when all our children receive quality educational experiences in school that allow them to lead successful, fulfilling, and productive lives. Creating an education system where all students can reach success plays a significant role in creating a vibrant democracy and strong economy. Despite the significant progress in the Commonwealth driven by the landmark Education Reform Act of 1993, the success of Massachusetts schools has not reached all our children.
As Massachusetts considers several proposals to make college tuition-and-fee-free or debt-free, this paper looks at how different design elements of such a guarantee could affect access and affordability for students from less wealthy families, students of color, and immigrant students in Massachusetts.
Organized as a series of charts, this paper details major trends since Fiscal Year 2001 in state support for our public colleges and universities in Massachusetts, and how those changes have led to sharply increasing costs for students and families, which they pay for with increasing amounts of debt. On several measures we compare Massachusetts to other states.
A ballot question has been proposed that would support investments in education and transportation with revenue from an additional 4% tax on income over a million dollars a year. This factsheet examines this proposal and how it relates to longer term economic and policy trends 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.
There has been a widening gap between workers with bachelor’s degrees and those without, especially among the highest-paid 10 percent of workers with bachelor’s degrees. The report shows that states where a higher portion of the workforce holds a college degree also have higher median wages — a pattern mirrored in differences between cities within Massachusetts as well. The ever-strengthening link between education and wages has benefited Massachusetts, where the share of workers with bachelor’s degrees increased more than in any other state from 1979 to 2016. Last year (2016) became the first state ever in which a majority of the labor force held a four-year degree.