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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick eyes free education from age 3 through community college

Gov. Deval Patrick envisions free education for every Massachusetts
resident from age 3 through community college.

To help him make that vision a reality, Patrick on Monday
appointed an 18-member panel to draw up blueprints for the 10-year plan.

“We need to change fundamentally the way we think about
and most of all deliver public education in this commonwealth,” the
Democratic governor said. “Everything is on the table.”

The leadership team will work under former Boston Public
Schools superintendent Thomas Payzant, EMC
Corp. chairman and CEO Joseph Tucci and Wheelock College President Jackie

That trio has until March to come up with recommendations to
Patrick, whose plan includes longer school days, strengthening curriculum
requirements in math and English and launching new teacher training programs.

There is no pricetag on the plan, and Patrick said he’s
realistic in his goals, acknowledging that teachers’ unions, among others, may
disagree with some ideas, such as how to extend school days.

“We expect that there is going to be push and pull …
as we go along. But we’re going to build those coalitions and join hands and
get results,” he said.

Chris Gabrieli, who ran for governor against Patrick last
year, was among the appointees. He seemed unconcerned that Patrick was creating
yet another task force.

“You either do it in the still of the night all alone,
or you try to do it with as many people on board,” he said. “I’ve
learned over time that if you want real change to stick, you kind of need a lot
of people on board. It doesn’t work as well if you try to dictate it.”

Two of 13 subcommittees created as part of the leadership
team are dedicated to examination of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment
System exam, a standardized test that high school students must pass to be
eligible for a diploma, and whether other factors should be considered for

– Associated Press

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