Bills boost homeless family child care, school police, financial literacy

  • One bill would bring financial literacy to the classroom.

State House News Service
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOSTON – About two dozen bills – including legislation dealing with child care subsidies for homeless families, local control of school resource officers and financial literacy – won the endorsement of the Education Committee Tuesday as a legislative deadline approaches.

In a rapid-fire executive session held after a hearing, the committee voted to give favorable reports to more than 20 bills in about 12 minutes, advancing them to the House or Senate, or perhaps other committees, for consideration.

Among the bills reported out were one filed by House Chairwoman Alice Peisch (H 305) that would amend laws dealing with bullying to also require the reporting of hazing incidents involving public school students, a Rep. Danielle Gregoire bill (H 262) to make physical education a required subject in public elementary and secondary schools, and a Rep. Denise Garlick bill (H 203) that would require schools to “maintain a stock supply of non-patient specific epinephrine available to all students” in case of an anaphylactic emergency.

A Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry bill (S 257) would make it so families living in temporary shelters are deemed eligible for at least six months of subsidized child care while residing in a shelter, and their eligibility factors would be verified if they remain in the shelter longer than six months. They would retain their subsidy eligibility 30 days after leaving the shelter.

The committee also signed off on one of the 10 different financial literacy bills filed this session – a Sen. Jamie Eldridge proposal (S 249) which would charge the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with authorizing the implementation of standards and objectives on personal financial literacy. The bill is backed by the MassSaves coalition, which says it would help equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to become self-supporting and to make critical decisions on how to handle money once they start earning it.

Twenty states require students to take a high school economics class to graduate and 17 require a course in financial literacy, according to MassSaves.

Separate versions of bills (H 2021, S 274) dealing with the appointment, funding and training of school resource officers were referred to each the House and Senate. Sponsored by Rep. Jim Cantwell and Sen. John Keenan, the identical bills direct police chiefs to assign officers who they believe “would strive to foster an optimal learning environment and educational community” and enter into a memorandum of understanding with school superintendents laying out roles and responsibilities of a school resource officer, training requirements, and information sharing practices.