By Beth Kontos, AFT Massachusetts President
As President of AFT Massachusetts, I support a fairer tax system in Massachusetts, and Question 1 is the path to creating one. For far too long, our education system has been imbalanced: class size, pay, and resources aren’t equal across districts. As leader of our union of 24,000 educators, I am confronted every day by this lopsided reality. And I am not alone.
AFT members across Massachusetts have been sharing their stories, voicing their concerns and examining possible solutions to the educational inequalities we face - one of which is passing Question 1, the Fair Share Amendment.
I am voting “Yes on 1” on November 8th to pass the Fair Share Amendment and support funding for public education, from preK through our public colleges and universities. I believe the benefits of public education, from age 3 through college, should be universal despite zip code or the ability of the family to pay for that education. And I personally know the benefits of attending public college at a reasonable cost. I was able to attain a bachelor's degree without debt 40 years ago because of the investment the state made in my education. Today, we are not investing in public higher education in the same way, but we should!
By creating a more level playing field, the Fair Share Amendment would provide much-needed funding to support public education at all levels. This could help us close opportunity gaps and provide students from all backgrounds - not just wealthy ones - with the opportunity to succeed.
Marie-Frances Rivera, President of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said in a statement, “This new, dedicated revenue is the difference between the Massachusetts we are today, and the true leader we can be. It’s a win-win for us all.”
As the representative of tens of thousands of hardworking and dedicated educators, I wholeheartedly agree.
AFT Massachusetts members and I know first-hand the importance of investing in our public schools and ensuring that all students have access to a quality education. We also know that safe and reliable transportation is essential for students to get to school and for families to get to work. Voting YES on 1 in November would make these investments possible to create a more just and level playing field for students, educators and families alike.
We know that when students have the resources they need to succeed, our society as a whole succeeds.