February 20, 2024

The Facts: “An Act Enabling All Students to Thrive”

With the introduction of our bill, “An Act Enabling All Students to Thrive” (H. 583 / S. 340), there has been a disingenuous and false narrative being promoted by opponents of the legislation, not only mischaracterizing what the bill is fighting for but also who the bill is fighting for. 

As these efforts continue to draw attention away from the real issue of not taking any action against the status quo layoff policy of Massachusetts–which will disproportionately harm high-quality and diverse educators earlier in their careers– we would like to focus on the facts of what our legislation does and does not do.

Our bill does aim to improve upon our layoff system by considering other factors, along with seniority, when districts face layoffs due to fiscal constraints.

  • We know that seniority is often a critical factor in a teacher’s quality and effectiveness, but it is not the only factor that should be considered when making a truly difficult decision that has the consequence of impacting kids’ learning.

Early results from E4E’s 2024 Voices from the Classroom show that 75% of teachers prefer layoffs to be conducted using multiple decision-making factors instead of seniority alone

Our bill does provide safeguards that protect high-quality, diverse educators, which ultimately has a positive impact on student outcomes.

Our bill does focus on quality and diversity, but within a broader context.

Our bill does not diminish teachers’ voices in any way.

  • In fact, we–as a teacher-led organization–have put forth this measure as a direct result of what teachers have acknowledged needs to be improved upon in our layoff systems. Educators are at the center of their classrooms, and our educators’ advocacy is rooted in solutions that address what their students need. We are amplifying the voices of both early-career teachers and their more experienced colleagues who recognize the urgency of addressing the imminent threat to the progress made in diversifying the teaching workforce.

Lastly, our bill does not run counter, or in opposition to, another robust teacher diversity effort currently before the Legislature: the Educator Diversity Act (EDA).

  • We enthusiastically support the EDA and believe it to be a great step forward in doubling down on the success Massachusetts has had in diversifying the pipeline of incoming, high-quality educators. In fact, our bill complements the EDA by focusing on the retention of teachers the EDA will help recruit. Without passage or consideration of our legislation, the EDA’s progress stands to be challenged in the face of layoffs–along with all other progress made to date in diversifying the workforce.

As we continue to fight for an improvement to Massachusetts’ layoff system that bolsters outcomes for students by protecting high-quality and diverse earlier career educators, we hope you will join us in urging the Joint Committee on Education to favorably report on our bill and bring it one step closer to passage.