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Adam Thompson on June 7, 2007 - 6:39am
Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, has announced a far-reaching education reform, including free community college and universal pre-K. Although many details have yet to be worked out, the proposed 10-year Readiness Project, would dramatically increase access to public education and aims to put Massachusetts at the forefront of education policy by making sure high school graduates have the option of either free community college or vocational options to strengthen workforce development for all students.
Gov. Patrick's proposal comes at a time when we are seeing few gains in access to and enrollment in higher education. An annual report on education in the United States - Measuring Up 2006: The National Report Card on Higher Education - found only 8 states improved enrollment in education or training beyond high school and only 1 state improved the affordability of higher education. An even more sobering fact is that 43 states "flunked" with regard to college affordability.
As the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education details, most jobs increasingly require more than a high school degree but not always the training of a traditional college. Making community college more affordable is a critical component to improve local economic job training for all high school graduates.