State of the States

Strong Schools, Economy Linked, With Program Details Still to Come

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In his inaugural address, Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts sounded broad themes about issues that his administration will treat as top priorities in his four-year term, including education.

Mr. Patrick, a Democrat, said after being sworn into office Jan. 4 that “better schools” and “high expectations” for children are critical for ensuring that the state’s economy will flourish. He called for more flexibility in classrooms, as well as more early-childhood education and after-school programs, but presented no details on what education initiatives he will pursue.

Gov. Deval L. Patrick

One indication, however, was his appointment last month of a special adviser on education who will “develop a comprehensive reorganization” of the state education department, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

He tapped Dana Mohler-Faria, currently the president of Bridgewater State College, in Bridgewater, Mass., to head up the reorganization of the education bureaucracy so that accountability for student performance is moved “as close as possible to teachers and administrators in public schools, colleges, and universities.”

Specifics of the reorganization will be announced later, the governor’s office said.

Before formally taking office, Gov. Patrick also assigned “working groups” to hold community meetings on major issues facing the state.

The working group that dealt with education issues reported that administrators, teachers, parents, and taxpayers were concerned about funding for local schools. The group also learned that people are worried that the content of the state’s standardized tests—the Massachusetts Comprehensive Accountability System, or MCAS—is driving too many of the decisions about what students are taught.

Mr. Patrick, who served as an assistant U.S. attorney general under President Clinton, is the first African-American governor of Massachusetts. He succeeded Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, who chose not to seek a second term.

For More info

Vol. 26, Issue 18, Pages 17-18

Published in Print: January 10, 2007, as Strong Schools, Economy Linked, With Program Details Still to Come
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