November 26, 2019

Educators for Excellence-Boston Teachers Celebrate Historic Education Funding Increase for Guidance and Psychological Services

November 26 (Boston) — Educators for Excellence-Boston (E4E-Boston), a teacher-led organization, applauds the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on its passage of the Student Opportunity Act. The $1.5 billion investment in public education includes a significant increase in funding for guidance and psychological services in Commonwealth schools championed by E4E teachers in their Schools that Heal campaign. 

“As teachers, we know from experience that our students are coming into our classrooms having experienced homelessness, food insecurity, the fear of being undocumented, domestic and neighborhood violence, abuse and neglect,” said E4E-Boston member Nina Leuzzi, a kindergarten teacher at Fletcher-Maynard School. “I have been lucky to be a part of a movement of E4E-Boston educators spurring this conversation forward, and am glad to see that our voices have been heard by state legislators. The additional funding for mental health staff is an invaluable win for our students and their families. With these resources, we will be able to offer the best care for our students, focus on a path toward coping and healing, and create school communities where the obstacles students face do not determine their future.”

Since 2017, E4E-Boston educators have urged policymakers to improve student access to mental health professionals through their recommendations in their policy paper Schools That Heal, in a petition that collected over 700 teacher signatures, an op-ed in Commonwealth, and more than a dozen educator testimonies at the State House. While experts recommend one counselor for every 250 students, Massachusetts has an average of one counselor for every 304 students, according to the most recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Today, our elected officials have demonstrated their commitment to creating a more equitable education system in Massachusetts,” said Sarah Iddrissu, Executive Director of E4E-Boston. “Over the past two years, E4E-Boston has engaged more than 1,200 educators, who consistently named student trauma as a major obstacle to students being able to focus on their learning. At the start of this effort, very few elected officials understood the magnitude of the issue. Today’s passage of the Student Opportunity Act is a testament to educators’ advocacy efforts. E4E-Boston hopes that this increased funding will lead to a new era in which every student receives the mental health support they need.”

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