Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, a former Education Committee chair and a leader on education funding reform, said, “This bill stands as our commitment that, in Massachusetts, zip code must not be destiny.”
Fulfilling the promise of public education as the great equalizer is our next big goal. Bay Staters believe in it. It’s a goal our constitution anchors us to. Now, that collective effort in advocating, crafting policy, and working together has given us a chance to deliver on it.
Chang-Diaz noted that mass shootings, especially those involving middle-class white children, make headlines. But she asked fellow lawmakers to have that same “sense of horror, unacceptance, urgency when shootings happen in Dorchester or Roxbury or Springfield or Holyoke or other urban communities, when the child’s riddled body is black or brown and their family is low-income, doing their best to make ends meet.”
“There’s no reason it had to be this way, the situation we find ourself in now is due to years of deferred maintenance. Deferring maintenance is a habit that State leaders need to break,” Chang-Diaz said.
“At what point does ‘we’re working on it’ become justice delayed and denied?” Chang-Diaz said the Senate has passed the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission multiple times. “The Legislature has had nearly four years to consider the recommendations — that’s half a kid’s elementary school years,” she said. “There’s no good reason that students will go back to school with no foundation funding plan in place.”
In an extended interview during and after The Horse Race podcast last week, Chang-Díaz told the Reporter that the dramatic funding boost is necessary to fully meet the state’s obligation to provide a quality education to its students while grappling with the greater cost of educating disadvantaged children. It expands on the bipartisan though last-minute efforts of the last cycle.
Chang-Diaz said the difference in funding between the PROMISE Act and Baker’s plan is “stark” and represents the difference between a school district hiring a fraction of a school counselor or starting a quality preschool program.
“Massachusetts still has one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation between rich and poor students,” state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz said in her testimony. “Everybody knows that money alone won’t do it, but we also know that you can’t do it without money.”
JP Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz took the podium at the 49th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast in the South Boston Convention Center and used the shining light of Dr. King’s example to call for another local fight for justice – that being the justice of equal education funding.
Seeking to accelerate Beacon Hill’s often glacial pace, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz on Wednesday rolled out a revamped version of the Senate’s funding bill from last session alongside four dozen legislators, mayors, and other advocates gathered behind the podium.
Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Boston Democrat who was the main architect of the Senate's $1 billion school funding bill last year, Wednesday morning filed a similar bill -- dubbed the Education Promise Act -- that includes language addressing some concerns raised with the previous version.
"Every year that we wait as a legislature to act on a highly-vetted, highly-researched, highly-debated road map that this bipartisan group of experts has given us, is a year that students can't get back," Chang-Díaz told me in a recent interview.
"I'm proud to see this important civics education bill signed into law," Massachusetts state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Democrat who heads the Joint Committee on Education, said during the signing. "In light of recent reports of voter suppression and the perilous state of our country's civic and political life today, this legislation is especially critical."
Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives, a Newburyport Democrat, and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Boston Democrat, also addressed the protesters gathered outside Baker's office together. Chang-Diaz had her toddler son strapped to her chest.