Education State of the States


By John Gehring — January 25, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

More than a decade after the Massachusetts legislature passed a watershed law that ushered in state accountability exams and pumped billions of new dollars into precollegiate education, Gov. Mitt Romney has issued a new call for increasing expectations in education.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during his State of the State Address in Boston on Jan. 13. Though the Republican is seeking more aid for schools in this year's legislative session, he said in his speech that money alone will not close academic- achievement gaps in urban areas.

But the governor offered few details for his proposed Education Reform Act of 2005 during his recent State of the State Address, and he challenged the notion that more money would bring better education results.

Mr. Romney, a Republican, did sketch out some broad goals for his proposal, which he said would largely apply only to failing districts. Among those measures, he called for a longer school day that would include more time for tutoring struggling students; expanding the state’s mathematics and English accountability exams to include science testing; lifting the cap on charter schools; and requiring mandatory parental-preparation courses for parents in failing schools.

While noting that 96 percent of the state’s high school seniors have passed the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exams, the governor challenged lawmakers and educators to do better.

“Kids in our urban schools, most of them minorities, are not succeeding at anywhere near the rate of their counterparts in the suburbs,” Mr. Romney said during his Jan. 13 speech. “And let me be clear: The failure of our urban schools to prepare our children today for the challenges of tomorrow is the civil rights issue of our generation.”

Fiscal Matters

But more money, he argued, will not solve the problem. “Ten years ago, it was felt that if we provided equal funding for urban schools, the disparity would just disappear,” he said. “It has not. Yet there will be some who simply cry for more money.”

Read a transcript of Governor Romney’s address. ()

Even so, Gov. Romney has said his upcoming budget blueprint for fiscal 2006 will include an $81 million increase in direct education spending, which would rise from $3.1 billion to $3.2 billion under his plan.

The stakes for school funding in Massachusetts are getting higher and are gaining increased attention.

The state’s highest court is expected to rule soon on a case involving several school districts that have argued Massachusetts has failed to provide students in needy schools an adequate education. A superior-court judge found last spring that the state’s school aid system has resulted in inadequate facilities, overcrowded classrooms, and an uneven implementation of state curriculum standards. (“Mass. School Funding Comes Up Short, Judge Rules,” May 5, 2004.)

Catherine A. Boudreau, the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state affiliate of the National Education Association, said that despite the governor’s proposed education spending increase, appropriations for schools would still fall more than $200 million below what they were in fiscal 2002.

“Once again this year, many school districts are anticipating having to make cuts in educational services if they do not receive significant new state aid,” she said in a statement.

A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read