Over the past three decades, Massachusetts has emerged as the country’s leader in K-12 public education. Since the passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993 and the Achievement Gap Act of 2010, Massachusetts has seen notable advances across demographic groups, yet still  realizes persistent gaps in access to vital student supports, academic and experiential opportunities, and outcomes. The Massachusetts Legislature expanded its efforts via the November 2019 Student Opportunity Act by committing $1.6 billion to districts over seven years with accountability measures in place to ensure the funding yields results for students. As a result of the nation’s ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts students and schools are also the beneficiaries of more than $1 billion in relief funds to cover safety improvements, PPE, tutoring, and additional student and staff supports, all of which must be spent by 2024.

At the same time as Massachusetts is lauded for its educational success, the Commonwealth has struggled to achieve the goal of equity across schools, districts, and student groups. For too many students, especially students of color, students from low-income communities, students with disabilities, and English learners, Massachusetts’s first-in-the-nation status hides a reality of widespread disparity and unacceptable educational outcomes across too many communities.

Until every student is Massachusetts is able to access a high-quality school that serves their individual needs as learners — regardless of their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, native language, zip code, and disability  — it is our work to draw attention to these difficult truths.

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