Education

High-quality and equitable education opportunities, ranging across early childhood, K-12, technical education, higher education and apprenticeships, are pivotal for the economic prospects of working people and their children.  Disparities in education funding and the resulting inequities in the programs and services provided to children and adults of different incomes and races can determine the earning potential for someone’s entire life.  EARN groups analyze how state and local school taxes are raised and how education funding is parceled out, showing the impact of current education policies and suggesting reforms that can improve educational outcomes and economic conditions for working families.

Publications

Care for Our Commonwealth: The Cost of Universal, Affordable, High-Quality Early Care & Education Across Massachusetts

Key Takeaways

  • Massachusetts families depend on early care & education (ECE) to promote healthy child development and so parents can go to work knowing their children are safe. However, our ECE sector faces many systemic challenges. Care is often unaffordable and teachers are chronically underpaid. These concerns have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • High-quality ECE—including strong curriculum and supportive teaching in classrooms, professional development, small class sizes, well-compensated teachers, and full-time schedules—has been widely linked to positive benefits for kids that can carry forward into elementary school and beyond. This includes exemplary programs in Massachusetts.
  • Existing public programs, such as Head Start, state ECE subsidies, and the preschool programs offered by school districts meet some of the need, currently enrolling 91,000 children and spending $1.27 billion in public funding annually.
  • The full cost of high-quality ECE would be just over $28,000 per child each year for ages 0-4 (infants, toddlers, and preschool children), nearly double the funding of existing programs.
  • Universal high-quality ECE in Massachusetts, with affordable capped fees of no more than 7% of income and free for low-income families, would cover a total of 288,000 kids with net new costs of $5.03 billion.
  • Affordable high-quality ECE would particularly benefit families of color and low-income families who may be struggling with the high cost of care. Increases in teacher pay, benefits, and working conditions, necessary for high-quality ECE would also benefit teachers in the ECE field.
  • Like the reform of K-12 school funding in Massachusetts, funding universal ECE could be phased in over several years, with initial priority for the most under-served communities.

Education in Georgia’s Black Belt: Policy Solutions to Help Overcome a History of Exclusion

Georgia has a constitutional responsibility to provide an adequate and equitable education for all its citizens. The state’s history has seen this obligation selectively applied based on a student’s race, family income and ability. It is worth analyzing if school districts that operate in Georgia’s Black Belt, the location of generations of enslaved labor, are currently being given a square deal. This report displays how communities within the Black Belt were and are systematically disadvantaged compared to the rest of the state of Georgia, and what it might look like to support those affected by systemic discrimination and exclusion.