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.
Massachusetts ranks 1st in education in the national KIDS COUNT rankings of the states. Recent victories and future progress could be at risk if Massachusetts loses funding from the federal government that has been crucial to Massachusetts’ successes. A large portion of the $2.5 billion in federal grant money that comes to Massachusetts outside of the state budget supports education. The President’s proposed budget that cuts federal funding could affect Massachusetts’ ability to ensure that every child in the Commonwealth grows up ready and able to learn, and that our classrooms are able to provide high-quality education on the road to college and success in life.
New Study Finds High Quality Career and Technical Education Can Significantly Improve Student Outcomes
It is no longer news that students who attend high-quality career and technical education programs in Massachusetts also perform well academically and are more likely to graduate from high school. This policy brief summarizes new academic research suggesting that these impressive outcomes are due to what takes place inside these schools, not merely differences in the backgrounds and motivations of students who enter the programs.
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.
Organized as a series of charts, this paper details major trends in enrollment and state support for our two-year community colleges, four-year state universities, and the UMass system. And it makes several comparisons to other states. Overall, we find that despite the growing importance of public higher education to the long-term health of our state, Massachusetts has cut support since Fiscal Year 2001, and tuition and fees have grown substantially as a result.
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.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has recognized that recent improvements to school meals programs can unintentionally reduce funding for low-income school districts as the result of less accurate headcounts of low-income students. The Department has already made significant improvements to its data systems and is developing further recommendations at the direction of the Legislature. Based on MassBudget’s ongoing research on direct certification and its impact on Chapter 70 funding, MassBudget has developed six recommendations to improve the Commonwealth’s low-income student count.