Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward for the Children and Families of Massachusetts
Data describing our communities document that opportunity is not equally available to children and families across the Commonwealth. While effective public policy removes obstacles along the road to opportunity, good jobs play a central role in paving that road. Yet economic policies have allowed wages to stagnate, and important work support programs and other essential benefits that allow children and families to thrive are at risk, especially as a result of recent federal policy.
The United States is in the midst of the longest economic expansion in its history, following the Great Recession with sustained recovery. Massachusetts’ economy today exemplifies this, highlighted by continued job growth and a very low unemployment rate that is consistently below the national level. If a rising tide lifts all boats, we should see all Massachusetts residents benefiting, but this isn’t the case.
Credit Where Credit is Due: The EITC and CTC – two proven tools to keep low-paid workers out of poverty
One of the most successful ways to lift people out of poverty is through tax credits targeted to low- and moderate-income families. Families use these credits to reduce their income taxes or receive a refund check. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are two widely successful tax credit programs for improving family economic security and well-being â€” combined, the credits lift more people out of poverty than any other federal program except Social Security. Nonetheless, there are opportunities to make these programs even better.
Accurately counting low-income and English Language Learner students, who are more likely to require a diverse array of academic and social resources to succeed in school, is important to ensure that school districts receive the funding necessary to support all of their students. Communities with large numbers of immigrants are often disproportionately affected by the challenges of obtaining an accurate count of low-income students.
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, also known as #LatinxHeritageMonth (running Sept. 15-Oct. 15), our infographics analyze the number of eligible Hispanic tax filers per county that could or already benefitting from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Nearly 90,000 children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are living in concentrated-poverty. What is the long-term effect on our children and our communities? Read the full snapshot, and stay tuned for our upcoming analysis on the issue.
Massachusetts benefits when all our children receive quality educational experiences in school that allow them to lead successful, fulfilling, and productive lives. Creating an education system where all students can reach success plays a significant role in creating a vibrant democracy and strong economy. Despite the significant progress in the Commonwealth driven by the landmark Education Reform Act of 1993, the success of Massachusetts schools has not reached all our children.