Educators for Excellence-Boston Applauds Inclusion of Mental Health Allotment in School Funding Overhaul Bill
September 19 (Boston) — Educators for Excellence-Boston (E4E-Boston), a teacher-led organization, stands in support of the recently announced Student Opportunity Act and its $1.5 billion investment in public education in the Commonwealth. E4E-Boston teachers have spent the past two years demanding increased funding for additional mental health experts in schools, and are heartened to see the Act’s new allotment for guidance and psychological services, which will result in more equitable access to mental health services for students.
“Today, state legislators demonstrated that they have heard the voices of our educators, who have testified, written letters and spoken out in support of their most vulnerable students who often do not have regular access to mental health experts. Additional mental health staff can help students work through trauma they may have experienced as a result of homelessness, witnessing acts of violence or coming into contact with the criminal justice system,” said Raina Aronowitz, Interim Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-Boston. “Research shows that when students’ trauma is left unaddressed, they are not able to achieve their full potential. With this legislation in place, Massachusetts could become a leader in creating safe, trauma-informed campuses that allow students to thrive. I urge the Massachusetts General Court and Governor Baker to pass the Student Opportunity Act with the Guidance and Psychological Allotment in place.”
In 2017, E4E-Boston members recommended improving the counselor-to-student ratio in Schools that Heal, their paper dedicated to making student mental health a priority. Following the paper’s release, E4E-Boston educators regularly delivered testimony, met with legislators and spoke with other education stakeholders, resulting in $2.4 million in additional funding for nurses, social workers and school psychologists. Since January, dozens of E4E-Boston educators have submitted testimony in support of H.577, a bill that would set statewide counselor-to-student ratios at the American School Counselor Association-recommended level of 1:250.