Stone Grantees Score Big Win for All Massachusetts Children

The Student Opportunity Act was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker last Tuesday. The legislation, which requires the state to invest an additional $1.5 billion in public education over the next seven years, is being hailed as a significant victory by organizations working to address the state’s educational equity issues, including Foundation partners Education Trust, Strategies for Children, and Teach Plus– all of whom, through their involvement with the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership, play a role in moving the state towards a more equitable education system.

Through the Act, new funding will be made available to districts throughout the state. These new funds are intended to support efforts to close the opportunity gaps that for years have led to disparate educational outcomes across the state. Initial funding will target districts with large numbers of poor students and English language learners. Among other things, the new legislation lets districts obtain reimbursements for transporting students to out-of-district special education placements, create a grant fund for innovative educational approaches, fully fund charter school reimbursements, and raise a cap on state funding for school building projects. Additionally, the Student Opportunity Act requires that school district leaders work with families and stakeholders to develop concrete plans for how they will use newly allocated funds to improve student outcomes. This provision creates a critical opportunity to open up decision-making tables and ensure that education reform is done with historically underserved communities, not to them.