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letters | test scores raise concern — and debate

Patrick making concerted push on early education

Your Nov. 15 editorial “Fourth-grade test scores sound a warning bell” appropriately spotlights Massachusetts’ decline in a national fourth-grade reading assessment. While we celebrate our first-place scores for English and math for our fourth- and eighth-graders, these fourth-grade readers have our attention. Closing academic achievement gaps and ensuring reading proficiency by the third grade are central to the governor’s plan to promote growth and opportunity across the Commonwealth.

We’ve implemented strategies toward reaching the governor’s education agenda, and made unprecedented investments in K-12 education and increased investment in early education so that our students are prepared for kindergarten, elementary school, and beyond.

Our administration is making changes to ensure that we are providing high-quality early education. We have convened a panel of experts on early literacy, created by legislation signed by Governor Patrick. We are also developing practices across agencies and schools to build children’s early literacy skills from prekindergarten through third grade as part of a statewide strategy to enhance program quality and improve achievement outcomes.

As a former public school superintendent, I know firsthand the commitment and dedication that are required to make sure our schools succeed. Through my visits to schools and in conversations with superintendents, teachers, and parents, I see the great work schools are doing to make certain that all students have quality learning opportunities in their earliest years. The Patrick administration is committed to ensuring that our fourth graders reach the same high marks in reading that Massachusetts students have consistently achieved in other assessments.


Matthew H. Malone
Secretary of education


of Massachusetts