It was 1993 when Massachusetts Gov. William Weld declared: “A good education in a safe environment is the magic wand that brings opportunity.” The Republican was signing into law a landmark overhaul of the state’s school funding system. “It’s up to us to make sure that wand is waved over every cradle,” he added.
With that, Massachusetts poured state money into districts that educated lots of low-income kids, many of which also struggled to raise funds through local property taxes.
“We noticed the difference right away,” says Dianne Kelly, the current superintendent of Revere Public Schools, north of Boston, where nearly 80 percent of students come from low-income families. There, much of the new money was spent on people: to hire and keep good teachers and give them better training.
And it wasn’t just Revere.
The story of funding success in Revere is part of the NPR reporting project School Money, a nationwide collaboration between NPR’s Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students. Join the conversation on Twitter by using #SchoolMoney.