The Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership (MEEP) education equity report is titled There Is No Excellence Without Equity: A Path Forward for Education in Massachusetts

BOSTON, MA – September 14, 2022 – The Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership (MEEP) released There Is No Excellence Without Equity: A Path Forward for Education in Massachusetts, calling on current and future state leaders to make tackling the Commonwealth’s long-standing educational inequities a top priority. The report puts forth recommendations for how state leaders can seize this pivotal moment in our educational system to remedy persistent and growing disparities that underserved students and communities face in achieving equal education opportunities.

“We must recognize both the urgency and the opportunities before us to improve our education system. The next phase of educational improvement for our state must focus on confronting and addressing the profound inequities present long before the pandemic,” said Edith Bazile, Executive Director & Founder, Black Advocates for Educational Excellence. “This report is a powerful tool for state leaders with clear, measurable, and aspirational recommendations that focus on areas that are especially important for advancing equity to ensure all students have access to high-quality opportunities from birth to early adulthood.”

“The hard truth is that the same data that gives Massachusetts its No. 1 status shows that the level of education that Black and Latinx students receive in our state is more similar to that of the average student in the lowest performing states than to their peers in the Commonwealth,” said Kerry Donahue, Chief Strategy Officer at Boston Schools Fund. “With billions in new state and federal funding for education on the table, we must - and can - do dramatically better for our students and families.”

The moment could not be more urgent. In 2018, MEEP’s report Number One for Some: Opportunity & Achievement in Massachusetts highlighted the pervasive inequities that undermined learning experiences and outcomes for hundreds of thousands of children across the state. Since then, despite the dedicated efforts of educators, students, and families to keep students safe and learning, more than two years of pandemic-related disruptions have only widened these disparities.

As today’s report demonstrates:

In There Is No Excellence without Equity, more than 30 social justice, civil rights, and education advocates from across the Commonwealth put forth a vision for a more equitable education system – early through postsecondary education – and offer concrete recommendations for current and future state leaders to make this vision a reality.

At the early education level, MEEP urges state leaders to focus on improving access to and affordability of early learning for underserved children and families while strengthening support for the early education workforce. MEEP recommends, for example, that state leaders:
  • Increase investment in early childhood education so that families – especially those with lower income levels – pay no more than the federally recommended 7% of their income for child care
  • Use statewide quality standards and financial incentives to expand access to hard-to-find care, including linguistically diverse programs, programs that operate outside the traditional workday, and programs that serve geographic areas that currently lack child care options.
  • Implement a statewide payscale for early childhood educators that ensures they are compensated at levels commensurate with public school teachers with equivalent credentials.
“The first few years of life are critical for children’s growth and development. What happens in the first five years lays the foundation for future success. High-quality early childhood experiences are essential for all children, including children from low-income families who often begin kindergarten already behind their peers. Yet, it’s nearly impossible to close this early opportunity gap with the rising costs and limited access to childcare programs due to ongoing staffing shortages.” said Amy O’Leary, Executive Director at Strategies for Children. “State leaders must ensure that all children - regardless of their zip code - have a strong start. We must build on the current public momentum for early education and care, and continue to invest in our youngest children, their families, and early educators.”

At the K-12 level, MEEP’s recommendations are aimed at ensuring that in schools across the Commonwealth, all students feel welcome and respected, receive the rigorous, culturally-responsive learning experiences they need to thrive, and have access to well-supported and diverse teachers - a vision that falls far from today’s reality for many students of color, students from low-income families, English learners and students with disabilities. MEEP urges state leaders to, for example:
  • Help districts become community hubs that can connect families to community resources and services to ensure that all students and families receive the mental health, academic, and wraparound supports they need.
  • Ensure that Massachusetts’ academic standards reflect and affirm the identities of all students, elevate the history, achievements, and key writings of communities of color, and combat racial and cultural biases.
  • Invest in high-retention residency and community pipeline programs with a demonstrated track record of success for educators of color, and incentivize traditional programs to adopt elements that make these pathways successful.

All of these recommendations must be implemented in collaboration with students, families, and educators.

“If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s how imperative close collaboration between families and schools is to student success,” said LaTonia Monroe Naylor, Co-founder of Parent Villages. ” As things begin to reach some level of normalcy, we must remember the lessons we learned: that we cannot build a more equitable system without partnering with communities that share students’ lived experience.”

When it comes to postsecondary education, MEEP urges state leaders to focus on expanding access to and affordability of public postsecondary institutions, and to ensure that all students have the support they need to successfully complete their degree. MEEP recommends that state leaders:
  • Work across K-12 and higher ed to reimagine and implement a comprehensive, statewide approach to postsecondary planning, including a series of career exploration and postsecondary planning courses required for all middle school and high school students.
  • Increase the amount and accessibility of need-based state scholarship funding, including the MassGrant and MassGrant Plus.
  • Develop guidelines and standards for strengthening academic and general advising services in public colleges and universities to make sure that all enrolled students receive the support they need to complete their degrees.

“Supporting students to attain a postsecondary credential has never been more critical than it is today. COVID forced many young people, especially those already under-represented on our college campuses, to put their education on hold,” said Norma Rey-Alicea, Executive Director & Co-Founder of NextGen Talent. “We cannot afford to miss out on the brilliance and talent of students from our most marginalized communities because we are failing to give them the help they need.”

“We stand at a crossroads for the future of education in Massachusetts. State leaders can choose to continue to tinker around the edges of change, knowing that glaring disparities separate students from low-income families and students of color from their peers,” said Natasha Ushomirsky, State Director for Massachusetts at The Education Trust. “Or, they can choose to truly lead the nation in education by centering the needs, assets, experiences, and perspectives of students and families that often get lost in Massachusetts’ averages to plot a new course forward.”

MEEP’s full education equity report with detailed recommendations for state leaders and our vision for education in Massachusetts, accompanied by a deep dive data deck, can be found here. In addition, families, students, and community advocates interested in learning more about MEEP, upcoming events, and opportunities, or who want to join our movement to promote educational equity in our state can visit

About The Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership (MEEP)
The Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership represents a statewide movement of advocates for educational equity committed to building power and capacity in historically underserved communities, advancing policies and practices that achieve educational justice, and shifting decision-making power and representation throughout the education system to be inclusive of community voices. MEEP mobilizes a diverse group of leaders across sectors to strategically enhance opportunities for all Massachusetts families.

Massachusetts has long been considered a leader in education, especially at the K-12 level. Indeed, Massachusetts has much to be proud of – but the reality is that for a long time now, our high overall rankings have masked deep inequities in student learning experiences and outcomes.
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