On the Issues - Democrats for Education Reform: Massachusetts (DFER-MA)

We support policies that stimulate the creation and success of accountable public schools and close down or dramatically change failing schools. This includes support for state legislation enhancing the authority of principals and superintendents to disrupt the status quo in poor performing schools, expanding opportunities for children to attend Commonwealth and Horace Mann charter schools, and support for robust federal funding to support school turnaround efforts.

We support mechanisms that allow parents to select excellent public schools for their children, with funding following each child to his or her school (for example, we support full funding for Commonwealth Charter schools in the state’s budget).

We support policies and funding that provide more learning time for children, such as extended learning time for K-12 students. 

We support clearly-articulated national standards, such as Common Core, and expectations for core subject areas, while allowing states and local districts to determine how best to ensure that all students reach those standards. We support rigorous assessments of student performance, such as MCAS and PARCC tests.

We support expanded access to high quality, affordable early education and care programs, especially for at-risk children, starting at birth and continuing through full-day kindergarten. With critically important brain development beginning at birth, excellent K-12 public schools are not enough to ensure all children achieve their full potential. High quality early education and care should be available to all parents who want it, not just to those who can afford it.

We support additional funding for Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities so they are affordable for more students. We also support increased accountability for these schools to ensure students are graduating on time and with a high quality education that prepares them for their careers.

We support policies that provide greater autonomy for principals when selecting educators and then holding those educators accountable for student performance while also providing them flexibility to exercise sound, professional judgment. We support providing teachers with the preparation and continuing professional development they need to thrive in the classroom, and teachers should be paid like the professionals they are.  


DFER's Debt-Free Higher Education Policy Brief

As debt-free college programs continue occupying the public imagination, Massachusetts can lead the nation in public education by developing a quality, comprehensive program to expand higher education opportunity. The Commonwealth can build such a program by covering all costs associated with college attendance for low and middle income students, applying the program to both 2-year and 4-year colleges, supporting college efforts to increase completion rates, holding them accountable for results, ensuring that funds are directed to those most in need, and leveraging improvements in K–12 preparation to help students succeed in higher education. Click here to download a copy of our Debt-Free Higher Education Policy Brief.

2015-2016 Legislative Scorecard

During the 2015-2016 legislative session, Massachusetts legislators had several opportunities to stand up for progressive education reform—or oppose it. Click here to download a copy of the DFER Massachusetts 2015-2016 Legislative Scorecard. 

DFER Massachusetts also assembled a legislative scorecard during the last (2013-2014) session. You can find that scorecard here.