For Immediate Release - August 06, 2007

GOVERNOR PATRICK LAUNCHES COMMONWEALTH READINESS PROJECT

Education, business, community and government leaders unite to develop 10-year strategic plan to secure education and economic strength for individuals, communities and the Commonwealth

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BOSTON - August 6, 2007 - Heralding the Commonwealth's moral and statutory obligation to assure every child access to a world education to reach his or her full potential, Governor Deval Patrick today named the council that will develop a 10-year strategic plan to continuously improve public education.

"There is no greater gateway to opportunity and success than a first-rate education," said Governor Patrick. "We have a strategy for that. The Readiness Project is about getting there. Each member of the Leadership Council is a talented professional who will bring a unique perspective to improving teaching and learning across the Commonwealth. Together they will build a long-term plan that guides us through the next phase of education reform to ensure all of our children are ready to compete in the global economy."

In June, Governor Patrick unveiled his vision for a comprehensive, child-centered public education system in the Commonwealth that begins before kindergarten, continues through grade 12 and higher education, and extends to work force development and lifelong learning. Implementing this vision will ensure that each individual has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential and be a productive, engaged and contributing citizen.

"Public education was born in Massachusetts and our Commonwealth leads the nation still," said Tom Payzant, former Superintendent of Boston and Oklahoma City Public Schools. "But that leadership distinction means little to the many high school students in Massachusetts who fail to earn a diploma each year. It means little to the students who enter kindergarten or higher education without the skills they need to succeed. And it means little to the employers in Massachusetts struggling to find employees qualified to do the jobs that go unfilled."

The Readiness Project's strategic implementation plan will focus on key elements of the vision that the Governor outlined in June. The broad implementation of many of the initiatives will not only serve to bolster Massachusetts' global competitiveness, it will also strengthen the social fabric of the Commonwealth by reducing costs associated with the lack of a comprehensive education.

The opportunity to attend a pre-K class makes a child 40 percent less likely to need special education services, 40 percent less likely to repeat a grade and twice as likely to attend college.

A 10 percent increase in the graduation rate for boys would reduce the arrest rate for murder by 20 percent, for car theft by 13 percent, and for arson by eight percent. A five percent increase in high school graduation rates would produce $115 million in annual benefits to the state and bring an additional $55 million in wages into our economy.

"Failure to act will have a profound cost not only to the students in our schools but to each and every one of us," said Joe Tucci, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of EMC Corporation and a co-chair of the Governor's Readiness Project. "The demands of life, work and citizenship cannot be met in through a public education system that has remained virtually unchanged for more than century. The time for fundamental, systemic change is now."

The Readiness Project's mission is to develop a 10-year strategic plan to implement the Governor's vision for education in the Commonwealth, including specific action steps, timelines, benchmarks and cost estimates. The Readiness Project plan will be submitted in the spring. In addition to the Project's Leadership Council (list attached), more than 100 experts and practitioners will be involved in the work of the Project's subcommittees.

"The Readiness Project is a signature Deval Patrick effort," said Jackie Jenkins-Scott, President of Wheelock College and Project Co-Chair. "Working together, the Leadership Council and the subcommittees will pull from the best of all that we know about what works in education and what students of every age need to thrive today to develop an coherent, cohesive and actionable strategy that will keep Massachusetts, her students, communities and businesses not only in a national leadership position, but a global leadership position."

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The Commonwealth Readiness Project

Jackie Jenkins-Scott, Co-Chair

President Wheelock College

Tom Payzant, Co-Chair

Former Superintendent of the Boston and Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Joe Tucci, Co-Chair

Chairman, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board EMC Corporation

Leadership Council

Senator Robert Antonioni, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Education

Dan Asquino, President of Mount Wachusett Community College

Eduardo Carballo, Superintendent Holyoke Public Schools

Patricia H. Crosby, Executive Director, Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board

Ed Dugger, UNC Partners, Inc.

Grace Fey, Executive VP and Director of Frontier Capital Management Company

Chris Gabrieli, Founder Mass2020

Representative Patricia Haddad, House Chair, Joint Committee on Education

Clare Higgins, Mayor, Northampton Massachusetts

Kathy Kelly, Former President American Federation of Teachers, Massachusetts

Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis, President and Director, Museum of Science Boston

Dana Mohler-Faria, Governor's Special Advisor for Education, President, Bridgewater

Janet Palmer-Owens, Acting Assistant Superintendent, Triad A, Boston Public Schools

Paul Reville, Executive Director, Rennie Center for Education Policy and Research;

Paul Sagan, CEO Akamai Technologies

Andrea Silbert, CEO, EOS Foundation

Harry Spence

Henry Thomas, President, Urban League of Springfield

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