Patrick's ed proposals draw praise

A proposal by Gov. Deval Patrick to add a cabinet-level education secretary and increase the size of three of the state's education boards is drawing praise from MTA President Anne Wass.

"We welcome the prospect of a new secretary of education," Wass said. "The return of a cabinet-level position will raise the profile of the Commonwealth's public schools and raise awareness about the importance of public education at all levels, from preK to higher education."

Patrick has filed legislation that would create the post of education secretary and add two new seats to the Board of Education, the Board of Higher Education and the Board of Early Education and Care.

Increasing the number of seats, Wass said, would help to diversify these boards.

"Adding to these boards will allow new members to have a chance to provide new ideas and perspectives," Wass said. "It will also provide an opportunity for a range of individuals to engage in discussions about policies that affect public school educators and students." 

Patrick, who has repeatedly said that education is a major priority of his administration, is also proposing a change in the way a chairperson is chosen to head the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. Currently, the UMass trustees choose their own chairperson, while the governor chooses the chairperson for the other state education boards. The legislation would give the governor the authority to appoint the UMass chairperson.

Dana Mohler-Faria, the president of Bridgewater State College, is the highest-ranking official now assigned to education in the Patrick administration. Mohler-Faria serves as education advisor.