Baker Education Budget Leaves Students and Families Out In The Cold

Education Committee Chair Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz calls this education budget "small ball."

Governor Charlie Baker delivers the State of the Commonwealth address.

Governor Charlie Baker delivers the State of the Commonwealth address.

As our students, teachers, schools, communities, and higher education institutions watch their dreams of having fully funded and quality public education slip away, what’s Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed solution? No new taxes for his wealthy friends and barely a 1% “increase” in school and college funding.

“Baker’s proposal shows a lack of concern for the needs of our public schools and Massachusetts families,” said Lisa Guisbond, President of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance. “In 2016, 62% of voters demanded that Beacon Hill commit to the success of our public schools by voting No on 2, but the Baker proposal fails to address systemic underfunding of public schools and is likely to increase the already-high cost of public college.”

Baker released his budget proposal for 2019 today, and it’s another thank you card to wealthy donors working to privatize and destabilize our public schools. The Republican tax giveaway just gave millionaires in Massachusetts a $2.5 billion annual tax cut, taking money away from our schools, colleges and basic public services. Baker’s proposal ignores that reality.

“Governor Baker’s mere 1% funding ‘increase’ doesn’t even keep up with inflation and cannot make up for the decades of underfunding of public schools and colleges,” said Juan Pablo Blanco, a UMass Boston student and MEJA activist. “This proposed budget once again leaves low income, black, and brown students out in the cold and harms their futures.”

Baker also touted support for “school empowerment zones,” an idea straight from the corporate-backed ALEC. These takeover zones take local control over public schools away from parents and place power in the hands of an appointed board, furthering the disenfranchisement of black and Latino families’ in school districts across the country.

Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz called the Governor’s plan “small ball.” Baker’s budget further exacerbates the 6.8% decrease in K-12 funding since 2002. College students and higher education will face a staggering 40% funding cut since 2001 if this law passes. This budget is another injustice to our families, our communities and our children.

Students, parents, educators, and community members demand that lawmakers prioritize real investment in public schools and debt-free public college. We must address structural injustices, like the broken Chapter 70 funding formula, that have left our most vulnerable communities under-resourced by the Commonwealth for decades.

Want to grade Baker on his public education efforts? Now's your chance! Fill out Charlie Baker’s Education Report Card and let him know how you think he’s doing.