Governor Deval L. Patrick
Governor Appoints New Secretary of Education
March 11, 2008
Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be here at the Monument School and we first would like to thank the officials and the students here at the school, as well as the teachers, for having us here this morning. This is a great, and I believe, historic moment.
Over the past 14 months it has really been my pleasure and honor to serve the administration and to serve Governor Patrick as a special advisor on education. I was immediately drawn to this service because of the very clear vision that Governor Patrick laid for the future of education in our Commonwealth. For the governor and for me, education is not an end, it is really the means. An essential means for every person, and we mean every person, who should have and be given the opportunity and pathway to transform their lives and the lives of their children. The governor referenced this during the State of the Commonwealth Address when he told his own story, the story of his transformation through education that changed his life forever. How in one generation, through education and strong community support at critical times, a person in this country can realize their full potential. That is also my story and that is why I have been so passionate about playing a role in helping Governor Patrick provide the same opportunity for every child in this Commonwealth.
Over that 14 months we have developed and further fleshed out the governor's vision on education. We have worked on providing the strategic pathway to realize that vision, through the Readiness Project. We have shepherded a new form of governance that will support that vision and that agenda for education in the Commonwealth. And we have been building the team to really bring us to the next stage of education reform in the Commonwealth.
In the 37 years that I've served in education, I have waited patiently for the governor, for the individual, who would bring a vision about education that would transform the Commonwealth and transform our nation. We have that governor, and that individual, with that vision, Governor Patrick.
Thank you very much. Thank you Dana for the very warm welcome here to this extraordinary school and this extraordinary program that we visited today. I want to acknowledge Senator Hart who is here, Representative Wallace who is here, Superintendant Carol Johnson and the members of her team are here from the Boston Public School system, Headmaster Jonathan Pizzi, thank you for the very special welcome here. To all of the Commissioners, the Board members who are here and Board leadership, the new colleagues whom we are about to announce, all the union leadership, the teachers, and the students who have joined us here today.
A signature focus of my administration has been to create a comprehensive, world-class system of public education in Massachusetts, one that prepares young people to excel in the world and in the economy of the 21 st century.
Consistent excellence in public schools and colleges is essential for the success of individuals and the success of our economy in Massachusetts. As we saw in China during our visit in December, that expectation is our calling card in the world.
We have made tremendous progress over the past 15 years with sharply improved achievement scores system-wide. These have been nationally recognized and I thank all those, many of them here, who have contributed to that progress.
Building on that success, we have made unprecedented investments in early education, K-12, and higher education, and proposed more in the budget plan pending in the legislature now. We have put forward strategies to address our most persistent challenges, like the achievement gap that still exists in too many poor and minority communities. And we have initiated our Commonwealth Readiness Project, a broad-based effort to write the next chapter in comprehensive education reform here in Massachusetts.
To coordinate these efforts, and with the strong support of the legislature, and I thank you all for it, we have created the Executive Office of Education. This cabinet-level office will consist of the Department of Early Education and Care, a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (what we now call the Department of Education), and a Department of Higher Education, each headed by a commissioner.
Starting in July, a Secretary of Education will lead this new initiative and join my cabinet. And I am pleased to announce that our Secretary of Education will be Paul Reville.
Paul has a long and distinguished career of championing educational excellence. Among his many achievements was being one of the architects of the education reform act of 1993, the series of reforms that has repositioned Massachusetts as the national leader in public education.
As Secretary, Paul will build on that experience by coordinating the efforts of the boards and commissioners within the state's three education agencies. Secretary Reville will be a central source of planning and accountability, one place where all of our educational efforts will connect and from which a comprehensive policy will flow.
From early education and care to K-12 and on through higher education and career training, the Executive Office of Education will be tasked with guiding Massachusetts students seamlessly from one step to the next through every level of their education.
I welcome you Paul, and I look forward to working closely with you in this new capacity. By the way, this is Mrs. Reville. I have to acknowledge Mrs. Reville, and I wanted her to come up here, because we had to get her permission in order for him to serve in this role, indicating that he lives in a household much like my own. I'm so glad that you gave him permission to serve.
Next I want to recognize the extraordinary contributions of Dana Mohler-Faria, my Senior Advisor on Education.
Since this administration began, Dana has shown an unparalleled commitment to, an uncommon effectiveness, in moving our agenda for young people forward. His vision, counsel, partnership and experience have been invaluable, and he has given generously of his time while continuing to serve full time as President of Bridgewater State College. In ways both seen and unseen, Dana brought us all here today, and we are all extraordinarily grateful for his service and his friendship. Thank you so much.
Dana has agreed to continue his service on the newly-renamed Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. He will also continue to serve in his current capacity as a Senior Advisor for me and for the Secretary in the development of the Readiness Project in the months and years to come.
I am also very proud to announce that Gerald Chertavian and Jeffrey Howard will serve as members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, thank you gentlemen, and that Carol Craig O'Brien and Chi-Cheng Huang will join the Board of Early Education and Care, and we thank you both.
Each of these appointees brings a deep commitment to educational excellence and opportunity for children all across the Commonwealth. I welcome each of you warmly to public service and look forward to working with you as well.
No other place in America is as well-positioned as Massachusetts to be the model for real, progressive educational achievement. Our Executive Office of Education, the leadership team we have added to today and continue to develop, and The Readiness Project in progress right now have set the stage for the next chapter in our quest for excellence.
I know I speak for my partners in the legislature as well as our teachers, administrators, business partners, and especially a generation of students when I say how much hope I have for what you will all do for Massachusetts. And I thank you very much. I'm happy now to bring to the podium our Secretary of Education designee, Paul Reville.
Thank you all so much. It's never a good idea to stand between an audience and lunch so I'm going to be brief. The Governor often talks about how he as a student was touched by fire. Something that I think we're all entitled as students, to be touched by fire, and I will say here that I am so deeply honored and have been touched by fire by his confidence in me and his charge to me to go forward and do this job.
Just a week ago I was comfortably and quietly going about my business as Chair of the Board of Education when, in a meeting we had in the governor's office, Dana and the Governor suddenly turned on me, and I confess my defenses were inadequately prepared. But naturally I am deeply honored, I am humbled, I am apprehensive. There is a huge job to do and no job like this gets done by any individual. In the spirit of this administration and in the spirit I've tried to exemplify in my professional work, I look to all of you in this room and thousands of people beyond this room to make this enterprise of an Executive Office of Education and a more effective K-12, pre-K-16, system of education work for all of our students.
When the governor asked me, it wasn't the most convenient thing in my life to move forward and do this, but I took it for two big reasons. One was that fact of being touched by fire. We truly have for the first time in my memory an education governor. Somebody who's got a vision, a big vision that is consistent with the kind of vision that I've spent most of my life working toward. Somebody who's impatient for success. Somebody who sees that as well as we've done in Massachusetts and as proud of we are of our national leadership in education, we have a long way to go to realize the ideals and ambitions of education reform, a pathway that we set out on in 1993. In our Commonwealth, educational attainment still correlates with socioeconomic status. That shouldn't be the case and we have an urgent sense of wanting to eradicate that correlation and provide for each and every child the kind of education that will allow them one day to be governor of a commonwealth. So because we have an education governor with that kind of vision I wanted to accept this position, and because we have a good chance now, a moment in time, and these moments of time, as Dana eluded to, come very seldom, there's a window of opportunity when we have the kind of collaboration that we have enjoyed already and hope to enjoy more of with the legislature, with our colleagues in the field, all those people who work day-to-day as professionals doing this work, the aspirations of our students, the members of the boards who are with us today. We've got a special moment here in which to advance our system significantly and particularly, to make it work for those who we've historically served least well. So I want to thank the Board members who have also been nominated today, I look forward to joining you and I appreciate your service. I want to thank all the colleagues who have worked with me thus far in my career and say to you I will need you in order to be successful going forward. And Governor, I am not only eager, I'm fired up to get going on this right away. So thank you all very much and I look forward to working with you.