Letter to Chair Peisch in Support of the PROMISE Act
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Dear Chair Peisch,
Thank you for your leadership as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education in working towards a comprehensive solution to improve funding for schools in the Commonwealth. I am reaching out today to express my utmost support for H.586, An Act providing rightful opportunities and meaningful investment for successful and equitable education, also known as The PROMISE Act.
In my district, the 6th Middlesex, Framingham Public Schools fall in the 8th decile for economically disadvantaged students; 22% of our students are English Language Learners, 23% of our students have disabilities, and 59% of our students are considered "high needs." Test scores, while only one way to look at a district's status, are consistently below the Massachusetts state average. We know that these deficits are not the fault of our incredible teachers or administration, who work hard every single day to provide a high-quality education for our students. Rather, we hear day after day about teachers not having the supplies they need -- supplies like books, calculators, even pencils. We have underfunded our public schools to the point of crisis, where we are depriving our students of the quality education our Commonwealth’s Constitution promises.
So why this bill specifically? The PROMISE Act will provide basic economic relief to those school districts in deciles beyond the 10th decile. While it is a modest step, this additional funding is critical to economically disadvantaged districts like ours that are not in the highest need districts but still have significant funding gaps to support its students. In addition, the PROMISE Act funds the 10th decile at 100%, which is a necessary requirement for starting to rectify the massive imbalance between districts across the Commonwealth. Anything less than that level of funding would be inadequate to tackle this challenge. By fully incorporating the key elements identified by the Foundation Budget Review Commission, the PROMISE Act will provide our students with the education they deserve. Importantly, the PROMISE Act will ensure the legislature reviews the Foundation Budget every 5 years, which will provide future legislators the opportunity to revisit the formula as circumstances change in the future.
Since the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations in 2015, we have continued to wittingly graduate classes of students that have not been given all the resources necessary to reach their full potential. The longer we wait to act, the number of students we have failed grows exponentially. I respectfully request swift action in the face of this ever burgeoning crisis.
I thank you for the opportunity to discuss my concerns for the 6th Middlesex District and beyond. We have an obligation to set the educational course for current and future generations. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.
Maria D. Robinson
6th MIDDLESEX DISTRICT
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo
Chair Aaron Michlewitz, House Committee on Ways & Means