Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe

The Boston Globe published the following letter I submitted on Sunday September 22, 2019:

Beacon Hill right to focus on funding

I appreciate Malcolm Gay and Jenna Russell’s extensive reporting on the inequities that students at Brighton High face relative to their peers at Newton South (“The great divide”). However, I take issue with their implication that Boston’s relatively robust spending means that Beacon Hill’s current focus on education funding might be futile.

First, the Boston Public Schools could use more funding for strategies to address the deeper inequalities that the article chronicles: English language instruction, family engagement, social emotional needs. The article does a great job highlighting why these supports are in such greater need in Boston than in Newton. Why shouldn’t Boston’s per pupil spending be much higher?

Second, the crux of the debate on Beacon Hill is about communities, such as Gateway Cities, that don’t have the resources to fund schools the way that Newton or Boston can. I serve on the School Committee in Lynn, where our per pupil spending is more than $5,000 less than Newton’s. Our students face barriers similar to those of Boston students. How we can we tolerate our students’ education getting 30 percent less funding than that of Newton students?

The article’s implication that the funding questions currently being debated on Beacon Hill are not central to the goal of eliminating educational inequities is a disservice to this important issue.

Jared C. Nicholson