For Immediate Release - June 28, 2007

Governor Patrick Lays Foundation for Readiness Project

Supplemental budget to include $4.6 million in targeted educational investments

BOSTON-Thursday, June 28, 2007-Laying the foundation for his cradle-to-career education plan, Governor Deval Patrick announced today targeted investments that will jumpstart new innovative programs, begin building and training additional teachers and give the Readiness Project the tools and information it needs to create a world-class, comprehensive public education system.

The $4.6 million legislative package includes a teacher survey, educator induction and professional development, pilot programs targeted at college readiness assessments and dual enrollment, a job vacancy survey to measure workforce needs and funding for the work of the Readiness Project.

"We must ensure that all students have the opportunity not only to learn, but to excel, and that all teachers have the tools and the support they need to help realize that goal," Governor Patrick said. "The investments we make now will lay the foundation upon which the new era of education reform will be built."

DUAL ENROLLMENT - $2,000,000

Governor Patrick believes college readiness is a key goal of his education initiative. Providing high school students who are ready for college the opportunity to begin college level course work assists students who are advanced in their studies, but as importantly, serves as a way of engaging low achieving students in a college setting.

The re-introduction and assessment of this program symbolizes the Governor's view of the seamless, outcomes based nature of education. This program and others like it will serve as a foundation for the broad integration of high school with higher education.

 

TEACHER INDUCTION - $500,000

One of the most significant challenges facing Massachusetts is the rapid rate of teacher turnover. Research shows that the most important means to strengthen teacher retention is systemic support for teachers in the first three years.

Through a competitive grant program at the Department of Education, qualifying school districts will be able the create a comprehensive district-wide plan for the systemic support for teachers in their first three years and the implementation of one component of that plan. The plans will be based on guidelines that have already been established by the Department of Education. As part of the application process, districts would be required to name a district planning team that draws on the entire school community, including but not limited to educators, parents, businesses, and local collective bargaining units.

 

BUILDING CAREERS IN EARLY EDUCATION - $1,200,000

The data has shown that good early education opportunities are an excellent indicator of later academic, economic, and societal success. As with any level of education, quality teaching is essential. As the Commonwealth moves to a universal pre-k model, it is essential that it builds the cadre of teachers who are trained to provide the language rich environments and activities that lead to improved language and cognitive development.

 

TEACHING & LEARNING SURVEY - $200,000

Like the Readiness Project, the Teaching and Learning Environment Survey will seek the opinion, advise, expertise and knowledge of the key players in guaranteeing global education excellence - teachers. Based on a model used by North Carolina as part of its educational renaissance, the survey will assess educator responses in categories such as: empowerment, facilities and resources, leadership, professional development, and time.

 

COLLEGE READINESS ASSESSMENT - $150,000

For the purposes of developing and administering a competitive grant program at the Department of Education to fund pilot programs in qualifying school districts to enable high school sophomores to take college placement assessments as a diagnostic tool to guide course selection for the last two years of high school. Based on the number of remedial courses required for college freshmen who have not only passed the MCAS but all local graduation requirements, the state has seen a real disconnect between the K-12 curriculum and college readiness. This pilot will help gather data and information to inform the administration's long-term effort to align K-12 and college curricula.

 

JOB VACANCY SURVEY - $350,000

The funding authorizes the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development to develop and administer a survey of 10,000 Commonwealth employers to determine the existing gaps in the State workforce, with respect to job skills and training, as well as assess future demand for skills and key employment sectors for the future workforce. The survey will provide the Commonwealth's Secretariats with vital information in developing strategies for promoting economic development in the State and providing cutting-edge educational programs and initiatives to ensure that the Massachusetts workforce remains competitive in the key growth sectors of the State's economy.

 

READINESS PROJECT - $200,000

The appropriation for the Project provides funding for the leadership team that will be crafting the implementation plan to support the Governor's vision for global educational excellence. The work of the project will serve as the blueprint to guide policy makers in Massachusetts over the next decade.

Earlier this month, Governor Patrick named former Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tom Payzant, EMC Corporation Chairman and CEO Joseph M. Tucci and Wheelock College President Jackie Jenkins-Scott chairs of the Project.

The Readiness Project will create a 10-year strategic implementation plan that will secure the Commonwealth's position not only as a national education leader but also as a global education leader. The Project is to focus specifically on how best to implement the Governor's vision, including, for example, recommendations for fundamental, systemic change to:

 

  • Deliver universal early education and care for 3-4 year olds as well as Full-Day Kindergarten;
  • Expand time for teaching and learning;
  • Recruit and retain educators all along the pipeline;
  • Improve teacher certification and licensing on a broad scale;
  • Align curricula from pre-K through high school, higher education and work force development;
  • Position and support charter schools, pilot schools, and traditional district schools so all are cooperative components of a comprehensive system;
  • Improve MCAS and introduce additional standards and assessments;
  • Universally extend education an additional two years to better prepare students for higher education, work and citizenship;
  • Fund the education system as envisioned adequately, equitably and reliably;
  • Leverage information technology throughout the system to improve instruction, student acquisition of skills, administrative processes and the quality of and access to data;
  • Strategically deliver education, human, and special education services to students in the Commonwealth's public schools
  • Facilitate collaboration among the higher education institutions within the UMass system and between the UMass institutions and all public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth;
  • Facilitate collaboration between the Commonwealth's public higher education institutions and the Commonwealth's private higher education institutions;
  • Implement an effective and efficient accountability system pre-K through higher education that not only ensures a top rate of return on investment in terms of student, school district and institutional performance, but also assistance.

 

The initiatives are included a Fiscal Year 2007 supplemental budget that will be filed by the Governor on Friday.

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