Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance
We are students, parents, teachers, school staff, and concerned community members who are directly affected by public education in Massachusetts. We are deeply committed to building a stronger and better public school system that is driven by community voices. By engaging all communities in the Commonwealth and building power through unity, our coalition is committed to working with our elected and appointed officials and holding them accountable to the actual needs and desires of the communities across our state. As income inequality grows, our public institutions and the very idea of the common good are under attack. Hedge-fund managers and other corporate interests are engaged in a broad based attack on democracy and the rights of working people. Our public schools are critical spaces for reclaiming hope and educating a new generation of leaders. In joining in solidarity to fight for the schools our communities deserve, we are joining as well in the struggle for economic and racial justice.
The Nature of the Challenge:
- High-stakes testing. It narrows the curriculum and creates a culture of compliance in both students and educators. It undermines the possibilities of culturally relevant pedagogy and teaching and learning for democracy. It is designed for ‘failure’ that disproportionately impacts students of color and feeds the school to prison pipeline.
- Disrespect of educators, parents and students. The data-driven obsession” treats us as pieces of a machine; our knowledge and expertise are denied, right along with the human relationships that are central to teaching and learning.
- Inequitable resources. We see classrooms without books. Schools without librarians. Many more students with ELL and special learning needs, but not enough funding to support them. An austerity mindset that refuses to acknowledge the reality of economic injustice and how it impacts the lives of our students and their families.
- Charters and privatization. Corporate education “reform” is focused on turning public schools over to private operators – whether through charterization or state school takeovers. This leads to the loss of democratic, local control of our schools, diversion of resources and the gutting of collective bargaining and due process rights for employees.
The Schools Our Communities Deserve
- Teach the whole child. Our students are more than a score. They deserve a rich and varied culturally relevant curriculum that includes recess, the arts, physical education, extracurricular activities, family engagement, and programs that promote social and emotional growth.
- More resources, fairly raised. In order to ensure smaller classes, early childhood education and critical wrap-around services we need changes in state funding to reflect the true costs of educating students. We also support fair tax reforms to raise new revenue from those most able to pay.
- Keep public schools public. We reject the two-tiered education system in which some schools are allowed to use enrollment practices to “de-select” students, leaving district schools with fewer resources to educate a higher-need population. We reject the pitting of students and parents against each other in ‘choice’ models. We believe the rising tide of quality education should lift all
- Engage the students, parents and community: Public education as foundational to democracy requires that the voices of students, families and the community be heard in creating, assessing and directing our public schools.
- Give educators a real voice. Teachers, too, are more than a score: They have ideas born of experience about how to make our schools work better. Teachers need workplace democracy and union protections so they can use their voices without fear of reprisal. They also need time to collaborate and more freedom to innovate.
- Name and fight economic and racial injustice: Any struggle for our schools must acknowledge the structural injustices that pervade too many of our communities. This includes providing students and families the resources they need immediately and, in the long term, fighting for economic security and well being for all. It requires culturally competent teachers that reflect the communities that they serve.
The Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance is a coalition of youth, parent, community, faith and labor organizations formed to advocate for quality public education for all in our Commonwealth.