On Thursday, the Joint Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Alice Peisch, released the Student Opportunity Act. This legislation, an unprecedented $1.5 billion investment in Massachusetts public schools, will expand opportunities for all students, especially those facing educational disadvantages, and provide more resources to all of our communities.
The Student Opportunity Act significantly helps school districts that serve high percentages of low-income students. At the same time, school districts across the Commonwealth will benefit from updates to the existing funding formula, along with increased state investment in other vital education aid programs such as transportation, school buildings and special education.
These new investments are coupled with policy updates designed to monitor and measure progress, support effective approaches to closing opportunity gaps, and deliver results for all students.
Senator Lewis and other legislative leaders commented on the bill’s launch:
“The Student Opportunity Act will make an unprecedented $1.5 billion investment in our public schools, ensuring that school districts across the Commonwealth have adequate and equitable resources to provide all students, especially those facing adversity, with a high-quality public education,” said Senator Jason Lewis, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and all education stakeholders as this bill advances in the legislative process.”
“We know that education drives opportunity, and that’s why access to a quality public education has been a guiding principle in Massachusetts since its founding,” said Senate President Karen Spilka. “With the Student Opportunity Act, we recognize that providing the resources and tools that students need is both our basic responsibility and our greatest path to creating opportunity in the 21st century. I commend the work of the Education Committee in developing a bill that will help create educational opportunities to serve students across the state, now and throughout their lives.”
“The Student Opportunity Act builds on our ongoing efforts to support our neediest students and to close opportunity gaps,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo. “The bill includes significant investments, placing a special emphasis on English learners and districts serving high concentrations of low-income students. In addition, this bill makes investments in school buildings, special education and transportation for districts across the state. Both the House and Senate have taken the noteworthy step of collaborating, side-by-side, to craft a bill that reflects a joint approach to support students. Thank you to Senate President Spilka for her leadership on this issue, and for the hard work of Chairs Peisch and Lewis to move this bill forward.”
“The Student Opportunity Act is the result of the analysis of input from a wide variety of stakeholders including students, parents, educators, the business community, as well as experts in the education field,” said Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “I want to thank Senator Lewis, my co-chair, my fellow committee members, and legislative staff for their tireless efforts to craft this legislation. Today’s executive session was just the first step in the process of enacting this legislation. We all share the common goal of providing the highest quality public education for all our children and this bill is a giant step towards achieving that goal.”