Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 489: Establishing the Readiness Project

Date: 08/06/2007
Issuer: Deval Patrick
Mass Register: No. 1085

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, it is a constitutional obligation of the Commonwealth to provide an education for all her children;

WHEREAS, it is the policy of the Commonwealth to assure that public education at all levels is of such quality to provide every child a fair and full opportunity to reach his or her full potential;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth has made important progress in education reform over the past fourteen years;

WHEREAS, data on graduation rates, readiness for college study, and the modern labor force indicate that there is significant work to be done to achieve quality public education for all;

WHEREAS, the demands of the global marketplace and the Commonwealth's own high standards and expectations continue to increase; and

WHEREAS, to meet those demands and to ensure that each individual has the opportunity to be a productive, engaged and contributing citizen, it is the policy of the Commonwealth to implement a comprehensive, child-centered public education system that begins before kindergarten, continues through grade 12 and higher education, and extends to work force development and lifelong learning;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c.2, § 1, Art. I, hereby order as follows:

Section 1. There is hereby established the Readiness Project. The Readiness Project will develop a plan to implement fundamental and systemic reforms to public education in the Commonwealth over the next ten years. The plan will include (but not be limited to) recommendations to:

  • Deliver universal and high quality early education for three- and four-year-olds as well as Full-Day kindergarten;
  • Expand time for teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools;
  • Extend education an additional two years beyond secondary school to better prepare students for higher education, work and citizenship;
  • Align curricula from pre-Kindergarten through high school, higher education and work force development, including with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math as well as other subjects and methods that enhance creativity and problem-solving skills;
  • Structure and support a reasonable degree of school choice, including charter and pilot schools, so that all serve as complementary components of a comprehensive system;
  • Recruit, retain and develop strong educators and administrators at all levels;
  • Streamline and strengthen teacher certification and licensing;
  • Improve the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System and introduce additional appropriate standards and assessments to measure other aspects of students' academic development;
  • Fund the education system adequately, equitably and reliably, including for students with special educational needs;
  • Facilitate collaboration between and among the Commonwealth's public and private institutions of higher education;
  • Strengthen the structure and clarify the mission of the institutions that comprise the University of Massachusetts system and all public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth;
  • Implement an effective and efficient accountability system for students, instructors and administrators from pre-Kindergarten through higher education that enables authorities both to review performance and to target assistance where it is most needed; and
  • Leverage information technology throughout the system to improve instruction, student acquisition of skills, administrative processes, and the quality of and access to data.

Section 2. The Readiness Project shall have three chairs and a Leadership Council, appointed by the Governor. The chairs and the Leadership Council may create working groups as they deem necessary to focus on particular challenges facing education in the Commonwealth. At a minimum, there shall be a working group on public higher education to support the tasks of the Readiness Project set out above that relate to the structure and mission of public colleges and universities.

Section 3. All members of the Project, including the chairs, the Leadership Council, and any working groups, shall serve without compensation in an advisory capacity and at the pleasure of the Governor. The Project will meet at such times and places as determined by the chairs.

Section 4. The Project shall submit its report and recommendations to the Governor on or before March 31, 2008.

Section 5. This Executive Order shall continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 6th day of August in the year of our Lord two thousand and seven and of the Independence of the United States two hundred and thirty-one.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Secretary of the Commonwealth

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