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2,000 migrant students added to 74 Massachusetts school districts this academic year

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2,000 migrant students added to 74 Massachusetts school districts this academic year


PEABODY – The migrant crisis in Massachusetts has added about 2,000 students to schools in 74 different districts this academic year, according to the state. 

That means there are about 242 districts still not facing the issue of having a sudden, unexpected influx of migrant children in their systems.

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CBS Boston

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“A small handful of communities can’t take on this burden and do it well,” Peabody Superintendent Josh Vadala told WBZ-TV. His district is one of the 74. They’ve added 80 students to Peabody schools since September.

“We’ve been talking to the state. You know, enough is enough,” Vadala said. “We’ve taken on our share and we are doing a good job. If you continue to pile on, we’re worried that we’re not going to be able to provide the same service and then it all falls apart.”

Massachusetts response to migrant student crisis

“We believe deeply that every single student, regardless of circumstance, should have a high-quality education. Every student deserves that,” Massachusetts Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler told WBZ.

Tutwiler said the state is giving those 74 communities what they need, including $105 per student, per day.

“Language barrier is definitely a challenge. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) very quickly stood up translation supports. Mental health is also a significant challenge where we’re seeing really clear manifestations of the hardships that families experience coming here (and) situations where students are not familiar with the typical school routines and that takes a lot of patience,” Tutwiler said.

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What’s worked so far? 

The state has a task force to find solutions and determine what works, Tutwiler said.

“There are so many heartening stories around how districts have really met the moment and really transitioned and welcomed families in robust ways,” he told WBZ.

Tutwiler specifically mentioned Peabody and what Vadala has done there. He has used the whole community to help the whole family, from field trips to experiences outside the classroom. 

Getting to know the families outside the school walls is paying off inside the classroom, according to Vadala.

“I’ve not seen models as robust as what we are doing. It’s not a competition but we are doing our level best to meet the needs of families here,” Tutwiler told WBZ. He said they key to all of this is more money from the federal government.

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Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the smartest state in the nation – Boston Agent Magazine

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Massachusetts is the smartest state in the nation – Boston Agent Magazine


A new report has ranked the smartest states across the country, and Massachusetts came out on top.

Education researchers at UTS Online analyzed each of the 50 states across 10 main factors, including average IQ, high school graduation rates, college graduation rates, SAT & ACT scores, NAEP scores, literacy rates, numeracy rates, share of State Value Added for Arts and Culture Production (ACPSA), and the number of colleges per capita.

The Bay State ranked overall No. 1 with an intelligence score of 81.63 

The report found it had the highest average IQ in the nation, at 104.3, plus its students achieved the highest score for both the SAT and ACT exams and came in second in NAEP. 

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Home to some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, including M.I.T. and Harvard, Massachusetts also had the highest college graduation rate in the country. 

Additionally, the Bay State ranked fifth for ACPGA, 17th for 2024 high school graduation rates and 29th for number of colleges. 

And it wasn’t the only New England state to make the top of the list.

New Hampshire came in second followed by Minnesota, Vermont and Washington state.

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US Marshals nab fugitive in Connecticut, wanted for murder and other crimes in Massachusetts

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US Marshals nab fugitive in Connecticut, wanted for murder and other crimes in Massachusetts


U.S. Marshals apprehended a Puerto Rican man in Willimantic, Connecticut on Thursday, who was wanted for allegedly shooting and killing a man in Massachusetts in December.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service said 28-year-old Lee George-Maldonado faces multiple charges in Fall River, Massachusetts, including murder, carrying a firearm without a license, attempting to commit a crime, kidnapping with a firearm, and two counts of attempted assault with a firearm. He also faces domestic violence charges in Puerto Rico.

Detectives with the Fall River Police Department investigated the shooting of 44-year-old Juan Castro, who was found dead outside his home on Bank Street on Dec. 23, 2023.

UTAH POLICE OFFICER KILLED BY SEMI-TRUCK, SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER HOURS-LONG MANHUNT

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An image of Lee George-Maldonado, who was wanted in connection to a murder on Dec. 23, 2023, in Massachusetts. (U.S. Marshals Service)

Following the investigation, police obtained a warrant for Maldonado’s arrest on May 17, and requested assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service to locate and take him into custody.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Connecticut Violent Fugitive Task Force tracked Maldonado to a residence in Willimantic, Connecticut, where he was ultimately apprehended with the help of SWAT members from the Willimantic Police Department.

DEADLY FLORIDA CARJACKING: PERSON OF INTEREST ARRESTED, ANOTHER ON THE LOOSE AS PLOT THICKENS

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The U.S. Marshals have recently been involved in several successful fugitive captures in New England. (File )

Maldonado is currently being held, pending extradition to Massachusetts to face charges against him.

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The Connecticut Violent Fugitive Task Force is made up of several agencies, including police departments in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Norwalk and Waterbury, as well as U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

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The task force seeks out and arrests violent fugitives and sexual predators, and since the group’s inception in 1999, they have arrested people wanted for being unregistered sex offenders or on charges of murder, assault, probation and parole violations and more.



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Antisemitism education amendment passed in Massachusetts

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Antisemitism education amendment passed in Massachusetts


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – As the Massachusetts Senate continues to debate their budget bill, an amendment to combat antisemitism passed last night.

We spoke with Senator John Velis, and he told us it was an emotional night in State House as many of his Jewish colleagues shared their experiences with antisemitism. He believes requiring the state to come up with a curriculum to educate students and teachers on the vast history of antisemitism is a step in the right direction. Especially as the number of antisemitic instances are on the rise here in the Commonwealth.

Longmeadow parent Shelley Barron told us, “My involvement was really catalyzed by, there was an incident where there was a swastika found on a whiteboard in Longmeadow High School seen by the child of a friend of mine and by our child, so that was very distressing for many of us here in the Longmeadow and kind of the Lower Valley Jewish community.

Shelley Barron is a parent of a 1st grader at Blueberry Hill Elementary School in Longmeadow. As a Jewish mom raising Jewish children, she told us she’s noticed an uptick in antisemitic biases, especially since October 7th when the Israel-Hamas war officially ignited.

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This uptick in hatred here in western Mass is what has led her to become an advocate for educating students and the public on the harm of antisemitism, and now an amendment to the state senate budget introduced by Senator John Velis would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with a curriculum to educate students and teachers on antisemitism both historically and beyond. It passed 40 to 0 on Wednesday night.

Velis explained, “I’ve had a lot of meetings recently. I should say with constituents telling me about their kids, kids eight years old, just young young, young telling me about how their loved one, their child, their grandson, granddaughter is embarrassed to say, sad to say, scared to say that they’re Jewish.”

From vandalism to physical assault and verbal harassment, Senator Velis told us antisemitism in our state has gone up over 100%.

To put that in perspective, only 3 percent of our state’s population is Jewish, meanwhile, that small group of our population is on the receiving end of over  60% of all hate crimes that occur in Massachusetts.

Senator Velis added there are five states with 50% of Jewish hate and antisemitism in the U.S. and Massachusetts is among those five.

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These alarming numbers are why the senate is working to lend a hand to our Jewish residents and find the root cause of this severe hatred.

Barron added, “I think it’s actually really important to integrate age appropriate curriculum to create safer schools for all children.”

CEO of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass told us there is a lack of understanding by many administrations and officials on what truly qualifies as an act of antisemitism, and they are noticing a lot of hatred going unreported. Gorenstein feels this amendment could potentially help to target this issue.

“I hope that it will help our schools and communities better recognize and connect the dots when these small, isolated things actually happen that they are part of a bigger picture unfortunately and a framework that we want to be disrupting.”

The budget is being reviewed in the Senate as we speak, and once passed, it will then go to a conference committee to come up with a compromise bill with the house.  Senator Velis is optimistic that this antisemitism education amendment will be included in the final draft. I did reach out to DESE as well as the Massachusetts Teachers Association for comment but haven’t yet heard back.

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