Action Alert
The Voice of Adult Education in Massachusetts

January 29, 2021
Governor Baker's Budget Proposal Would Be a Step Back for Adult Basic Education

This week Governor Charlie Baker released his budget proposal for FY2022 to the Legislature, with a recommendation of $40,606,883 for Adult Basic Education (line item #7035-0002).

If adopted, this would mean a $5.7 million cut from the FY21 enacted level.

The Governor's proposal unfortunately does not keep pace with the tremendous need for ABE, ESOL, and GED programs across Massachusetts, or with the challenges programs continue to face during the pandemic.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • ABE programs are doing more than ever, with students relying on these trusted community resources for more than just academics.

  • ABE programs have pivoted to remote and hybrid instruction, but still lack necessary technology tools, professional development resources, and personal protective equipment.

The shift to remote and hybrid instruction has also meant programs are able to reach some students who might not otherwise be able to access instruction by removing some perennial barriers to participation like child care and transportation. Now is the time to invest more, not less, in ABE programs to ensure these innovations are successful and can be scaled up statewide.

MCAE Budget Request
MCAE is calling upon the Massachusetts Legislature to invest $50 million in Adult Basic Education for FY2022, an increase of $3.6 million from FY2021. Funding at this level would allow Massachusetts to:

  • Serve more students, ensuring that every adult who is waiting for a slot can find one;

  • Reach underserved communities, increasing the likelihood that students are able to enroll in programs near where they work or live or via technology;

  • Attract and retain professional staff by improving compensation and working conditions to reduce costly and de-stabilizing turnover.

Additional legislative priorities for MCAE in FY2022
With your help, MCAE advocates for many issues that affect ABE students and communities, including immigrant rights, progressive revenue to fund education, and COVID protections for vulnerable populations. Find the complete MCAE legislative agenda here and be on the lookout for action related to these issues.

What's next?
The next step in the budget process is for the House to release its budget bill. Make sure that ABE is on your Representative's "wish list."

  • Remind them that an investment in ABE is an investment in Massachusetts, in its people, and in its future economic success. 

  • Tell them that Governor Baker's budget plan will stall the progress made in recent years, and that Massachusetts can - and should - go even further.

  • Share with them the impact that additional resources would have in your program, in your classroom, and in the lives of their constituents.
Want to make sure issues you care about are on the MCAE legislative agenda? Email [email protected] for more information about joining the Public Policy Committee.