Members of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s administration continue to tour the state promoting Patrick’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st. New Secretary of Education Matthew Malone visited Springfield Thursday to speak to local educators about proposed investments in education.
Governor Patrick’s budget would increase education spending by over $650 million next year. Secretary Matthew Malone says the spending would focus on early childhood education, local chapter 70 aid, increased classroom time in certain middle schools, and higher education grants. Malone says whether or not the legislature follows through on proposed spending, he thinks all component’s of the governor’s education plan are priorities.
“One is not more important than the other. They’re all intricately linked. They’re all about closing achievement gaps and providing opportunity. I say we need to do it all.”
Malone argues the proposed spending would help increase graduation rates in western Massachusetts. Graduation rates in the Springfield and Holyoke public school districts rank among the bottom ten districts in the state. Each district graduated slightly over fifty percent of its students last year. Malone says investments in early childhood and elementary education, will help improve those numbers.
“So if we’re strategic and thoughtful, which the governor is, in saying our goal is reading proficiency by the end of third grade, we do that right, that’s going to increase graduation rates for the next ten years on.”
Patrick’s budget is now before the legislature. Both the house and senate will produce budget proposals of their own in the coming months.