A coalition of Massachusetts education groups is calling on the legislature to revise its funding formula and target more resources toward students of color and those from low-income households.
The coalition, called the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership, brings together 17 groups that include Educators for Excellence Massachusetts, Latinos for Education and NAACP Boston. The coalition delivered a report about educational inequities to the State House Monday.
The report includes figure data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the U.S. Census Bureau, among other sources.
The report found that more than a third of black and Latino fourth-graders are on grade level in reading — half of the rate for the state’s white students.
Education consultant Derek Niño cited under-funding as part of the problem, saying the education funding formula falls $1.4 billion short of what's needed.
“That under-funding didn’t take into account inflation. It didn’t take into account retiree benefits. It also didn’t take into account special populations [like] special education students as well as English learners,” Niño said in an interview with WGBH News.
Keri Rodrigues, founder of Massachusetts Parents United, voiced frustration with the Legislature being slow to act despite the known disparities along racial and socioeconomic lines.
“Yes, Massachusetts is number one in the nation for education, but we’re not number one in the nation for every child,” Rodrigues said in an interview. “We don’t have excellence in education for Latino children, and it’s not acceptable.”
The report says one in three English learners doesn’t graduate on time, and one in seven doesn’t graduate at all. It also says Latino children and those from low-income households are less likely to have access to early childhood education programs.