SENATE DOCKET, NO. 2014        FILED ON: 2/19/2021

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 365

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Jason M. Lewis

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to anti-racism, equity and justice in education.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

 

Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex

 

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

3/8/2021

Joanne M. Comerford

Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester

3/23/2021

Jack Patrick Lewis

7th Middlesex

4/7/2021

Tami L. Gouveia

14th Middlesex

7/13/2021

Smitty Pignatelli

4th Berkshire

9/2/2021


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 2014        FILED ON: 2/19/2021

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 365

By Mr. Lewis, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 365) of Jason M. Lewis, James B. Eldridge, Joanne M. Comerford and Jack Patrick Lewis for legislation relative to anti-racism, equity and justice in education.  Education.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninety-Second General Court
(2021-2022)

_______________

 

An Act relative to anti-racism, equity and justice in education.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

Whereas, the events of 2020 including the Covid-19 Pandemic and the murder of George Floyd have elucidated the emergent nature of the social, economic and health disparities caused by racial inequity, including but not limited to: police brutality, profiling and murders of Black and brown people, anti-Asian violence, vast inequity in health care access and job safety during the pandemic - and the ensuing unnecessary deaths. Whereas the insurrection of January 6, 2021 revealed the imminent danger posed by rampant disinformation and white supremacy to the safety and integrity of our nation. Whereas racial educational disparities and white-centric history have fostered lies, systemic inequality and outright violence, it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth that education in dismantling racism be taught to all students, that teachers and school counselors be trained in pedagogy and practices that uplift students of all ethnicities and backgrounds, that truth and reconciliation regarding slavery, genocide, land theft and systemic racism is centered, that students of color and students from immigrant and indigenous communities may find their rightful place reflected in the history they learn, and that all Massachusetts students are given the chance to develop into informed, engaged members of society.

SECTION 1. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2FFFFF the following section:-

Section 2GGGGG. (a) There shall be established and set up on the books of the Commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Anti-Racism and Equity in Education Trust Fund. The fund shall be administered by the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education through consultation and recommendation by the Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education. The fund shall be credited with: (i) revenue from appropriations or other money authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited to the fund; (ii) interest earned on such revenues; and (iii) funds from public and private) sources such as gifts, grants and donations to further civics and history education and professional development. Amounts credited to the fund shall not be subject to further appropriation and any money remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund. No expenditure made from the fund shall cause the fund to become deficient at any point.

SECTION 2. Chapter 69 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 1Q the following section:-

Section 1R.  (a) There shall be a Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education which shall consist      of the following members: 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Teachers Association; 1 member appointed by the American Federation of Teachers of Massachusetts; 1 member appointed by the Boston Teachers Union; 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents; 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees; 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs; 1 member appointed by the the Collaborative of Asian American, Native American, Latino and African American Institutes of the University of Massachusetts Boston; 1 member appointed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts; 1 member appointed by the North American Indian Center of Boston; 1 member appointed by the NAACP, Boston Branch; 1 member appointed by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston; 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Community Action Network; 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance; 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth; 1 member appointed by the Cape Verdean Association of Boston;1 member appointed by the Asian American Commission; and 1 member appointed by the Parents Union of Massachusetts.                                                                                                         

(b) The Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education shall work with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in identifying, analyzing and making recommendations to:

(i) Develop curriculum materials with a social justice perspective of dismantling racism and to advise the department on improving the history and social sciences framework.

(ii) Ensure that ethnic studies, racial justice, decolonizing history, and unlearning racism is taught at all grade levels using a critical approach and pedagogy that is age-appropriate.

(iii) Advise the department on ways to ensure equity in the Massachusetts Test for Education Licensure; and  

(iv) Ensure that teachers and school counselors have access to professional development that fosters equitable, inclusive curriculum and pedagogy and practices that support racial justice.

(c) The Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education shall advise the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on how best to support and promote efforts to increase, support and retain teachers and school counselors of color in our public school workforce.

(d)  There shall be a Anti-Racism and Equity in Education grant program developed and administered by the Commissioner in collaboration with the Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education for all public schools and school districts to promote racial equity and racial and ethnic studies within and across school districts. The Commissioner, working with the Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education, may expend funds from the Anti-Racism and Equity in Education Trust Fund, hereinafter the trust fund, established in section 2GGGGG of chapter 29 for these grant programs and allocations. All grant applications shall include: (i) a statement of the prospective curriculum or program and the expected impact; (ii) a preliminary estimate of the cost; and (iii) a mechanism for determining how the proposal may be effectively replicated.

The Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education and the Commissioner shall, from time to time, review and make recommendations on the improvement of the design, oversight or implementation of the grant program.

The Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education may receive and consider reports and input from expert individuals, educators, school administrators, school counselors, parents, community-based organizations, voluntary education organizations and other relevant public and private organizations recognized as having expertise consistent with this section.

The Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education may facilitate funds and other resources to districts, universities, and community groups. Programs eligible for these grants would require funds for work in these categories: (i) professional development training; (ii) for the review of current curricula and standards through a lens of dismantling racism; (iii) for the development of educational materials; (iv) for the collaboration with institutions of higher education and other stakeholder organizations; and (v) to ensure that every public school and school district has the opportunity to apply for grants.

(e)  Public schools and school districts awarded funds pursuant to this section shall work with the Commissioner and the Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education to:

(I) analyze the effectiveness of their initiatives;

(ii) analyze the social studies and history curricula and framework through a lens of racial justice; and

(iii) amend the social studies and history curricula and framework.

(f)  Money in the trust fund may be used to support the replication of effective practices and the dissemination of best practices generated through the competitive grant program.

(h)  Annually, not later than December 1, the Commission for Anti-Racism and Equity in Education and the Commissioner shall report to the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, the joint committee on education and the house and senate committees on ways and means on the fund's activity. The report shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the source and amount of funds received; (ii) the amounts distributed and the purpose of expenditures from the fund, including but not limited to, funds expended to assist school districts in meeting the requirements in this section; and (iii) anticipated revenue and expenditure projections for the following year.