Tuesday, December 1, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine: police reform compromise reached; state budget fails funding schools

From CommonWealth Magazine we share two articles of interest for Franklin:

"AFTER FOUR MONTHS of closed-door negotiations, six members of the House and Senate reported out compromise police reform legislation on Monday that establishes a certification system for officers and punts the contentious issue of immunity to a special legislative commission.

The bill released by a House-Senate conference committee would create a civilian-led Peace Officer Standards and Training commission that will establish standards for police, investigate misconduct claims, and decertify officers found in violation.

The proposed legislation bars the use of deadly force unless all de-escalation tactics have been used and failed. Chokeholds, similar to what killed Eric Garner in 2014, and restraining of the neck are prohibited. The legislation also requires that, if an officer witnesses another using deadly force improperly, he or she is required to intervene."

Continue reading the article online
"AFTER MONTHS OF limbo, the state budget working its way through Beacon Hill obscures a difficult truth—funding levels will fall short of what our schools, particularly those that are the most under-resourced, need to successfully educate their students for the rest of the year. The challenges will remain even if the COVID-19 pandemic subsides over the coming months. We need targeted, progressive tax revenue to give our schools the resources to successfully navigate this crisis.

So far, the state’s answer to the pandemic is to repeatedly lower the bar for how it defines a safe return to school rather than providing adequate resources so schools can really be safe. One in 10 of the 1,800 school buildings in the state is over a century old, a figure that is true for one in five in our Gateway Cities which educate many of our state’s lowest-income students. Making these buildings safe for both students and faculty requires upgrading airflow and ventilation. Districts also must provide safe transportation for students. This costs money. Given the link between community wealth and the historical legacy of racism, kids of color and the schools that educate them tend to have fewer resources than those in wealthier districts. "
Continue reading the article online 

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