MEJA's Legislative Priorities
Fully fund our public schools
S.308 Improve public education
Chief sponsors: Sen. Michael Rush, D-Boston, and Rep. Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge
This comprehensive bill includes provisions to:
- Implement the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission to significantly increase state funding for public schools.
- Rethink high-stakes testing by placing a three-year moratorium on the use of the MCAS as a graduation requirement or for rating teachers, schools and school districts.
- Promote child development by allowing educators to use the most effective approaches for teaching English language learners, including use of the students’ first languages, and by mandating recess as part of the school day for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
- Promote community support and involvement in school improvement efforts and promote workplace fairness for educators.
S.223 Implement the Foundation Budget Review Commission recommendations
Chief sponsor: Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston
Would carry out the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission to significantly increase state funding for public schools.
S.220 Funds for Boston schools
Chief sponsor: Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston
Would fix a technical problem in the state funding formula that would otherwise prevent Boston from receiving its share of additional funds recommended by the Foundation Budget Review Commission.
End higher education student debt
H.639 Help students pay the costs of public higher education
Lead sponsors: Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, and Sen. Eileen Donoghue, D-Lowell
Student costs for public higher education in Massachusetts have grown as state funding has shrunk. Would create “Finish Line Grants” to pay for one year of tuition and fees. Students with family income below roughly $125,000 would be eligible. Also increases student access to tenure-track faculty and promotes workplace fairness for adjunct faculty by providing access to health insurance, pension options, pay parity and tenure-track positions.
Less testing, more learning
H.2844 A three-year moratorium on high-stakes testing
Chief sponsor: Rep. Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge
Would place a three-year moratorium on the use of the MCAS as a graduation requirement or for rating teachers, schools and school districts.
(S.308 includes similar provisions.)
Stop the school-to-prison pipeline
S.944/H.2309 Sealing or expungement of juvenile criminal records
Chief sponsors: Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland; Rep. Kay Khan, D-Newton; and Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston
Would prevent criminal records from following people for their entire lives, limiting their job prospects and other opportunities, if they violated certain laws as juveniles but have not broken any law since then.
S.876 Decriminalize non-violent student misconduct
Chief sponsor: Sen. Patricia Jehlen, D-Somerville.
Would stop the arrest and prosecution of students for non-violent misbehavior in schools.
Education, not deportation
S.1305/H.3269 Safe Communities Act
Chief sponsors: Sen. James Eldridge, D-Acton, and Rep. Juana Matias, D-Lawrence
Would prohibit state collaboration with the federal government for the purposes of creating a Muslim registry and ensure that state resources are not used to enforce federal immigration law.
S.232/H.2839 Education of English language learners
Chief sponsor (S.232): Sen. Sal DiDomenico, D-Everett
Chief sponsor (H.2839): Rep. Antonio Cabral, D-New Bedford
Similar bills would allow educators to use the most effective approaches for teaching English language learners, including use of the students’ first languages.
(S.308 has a similar provision.)
Keep public schools public
OPPOSE S.279 and H.304, which would allow the appointed Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to seize control of two or more schools in a district and turn them over to a board that he would appoint, if the district has one school that the commissioner has designated Level 4.
SUPPORT S.321/H.2062 Local approval of locally-funded charter schools
Chief sponsors: Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury; Rep. Frank Smizik, D-Brookline
Would require local approval of charter schools if they are to be funded with money that would otherwise go to local public schools. The state could still create charter schools without local approval, but it would pay for these schools from a separate state fund.
Raise Up Massachusetts
S.1004/H.2363 $15-an-hour minimum wage
Chief sponsors: The late Sen. Ken Donnelly, D-Arlington; and Rep. Dan Donahue, D-Worcester
Would make it possible for more parents to spend time with their children and help them succeed in school, rather than having to work two or three jobs to support their families.
S.1048/H.2172 Paid family and medical leave
Chief sponsors: Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland; and Rep. Ken Gordon, D-Bedford
Would give all working parents the assurance that they could take care of their health and the health of their children without sacrificing the income they need to support their families.
Fair Share Constitutional Amendment
Would allow Massachusetts to tax income above $1 million a year at a rate 4 percent higher than income below $1 million. This amendment to the state Constitution would affect roughly 15,000 residents with the highest incomes in the state. It would produce nearly $1.8 billion in revenue, which would be earmarked for education and transportation infrastructure.