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GOVERNOR MICHAEL DUKAKIS - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 10/18/1984 - HFSID 324575

MICHAEL DUKAKIS Signed letter on legislation for public school reform: "Improvement will take time; it is a developmental process by nature." Typed letter signed: "Michael Dukakis", as Governor, in blue ink, 2 pages, 8x11.

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MICHAEL DUKAKIS
Signed letter on legislation for public school reform: "Improvement will take time; it is a developmental process by nature."
Typed letter signed: "Michael Dukakis", as Governor, in blue ink, 2 pages, 8x11. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, Boston, Massachusetts, October 18, 1984. To "Dear Ms. Walinksi" Irene Walinski, Monson, Massachusetts, in full: "Thank you for your letter regarding House 5704, the comprehensive piece of public school reform legislation presently pending in the State House of Representatives. To date, my office has received over 5,000 letters from teachers across the Commonwealth in support of this bill, a clear indication of the profession's concern for the welfare of public education. I, too, share that concern and have made passage of school reform legislation one of my administration's top two priorities for 1984. Working together, as we have many times in the past, I am confident that we can realize a number of progressive statutory changes before the end of the current legislative session. The past few years have been difficult ones for public education, especially from the vantage point of the classroom teacher. As your Governor, I will do everything in my power to create an environment of fiscal and moral support to reverse this trend. House 5704 is an important step in that direction. With certain exceptions, the bill has my enthusiastic support. It provides a mix of strategies to deal with the pressing educational problems of our era, requiring a rejuvenated state role without unduly usurping our New England tradition of local control of public schools. Most important of all, House 5704 simultaneously pays attention to two Inseparable concerns: equity and excellence. My administration's three-tiered funding approach will, at minimum, mandate that the per pupil expenditure of all school districts reach 85 percent of the statewide average within three years. In addition, the state will use its growth revenues to find all local mandates of the bill and inject additional targeted resources into those communities that require emergency educational assistance. On the excellence front--but not unrelated totally to the equity issue--a restructured state department of education will work in partnership with local school districts to ensure that all school districts plan for and provide a sound variety of contemporary, academic program offerings. A well-conceived basic skills testing program will report to parents and communities on students' academic progress. Educational technology, specifically microcomputers, will be introduced into all grade levels in a rational fashion. Finally, I am committed to the enhancement of the teaching profession,. Teachers and the general public have demanded action on this front. The bill does this in a number of ways. First, it provides a loan forgiveness program intended once again to attract promising young people into teaching. Second, it will allow teachers, like members of other professions, to have a meaningful say over the certification of new teachers. Third, annual teacher evaluation will be required in each school district. Lastly, while the details have not yet been finalized, House 5704 will deal with the critically important issue of teacher compensation. Teacher compensation must be addressed meaningfully in this bill if we are to attract and retain the best possible people. While the state clearly asserts a role for itself in the reform of public education under House 5704 ideas such as the School Improvement Fund and School Site Councils continue to recognize two fundamental tenets of education: 1) improvement is possible only when it is rooted at the building level, supported intimately by parents and nurtured by an involved community; and 2) improvement will take time; it is a developmental process by nature. I believe that a rededication of our commitment to public education--but stressed by our fiscal actions--will prove the soundest investment in our state's future. As I have said on many occasions, human minds are our state's greatest natural resource. I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to convey your support for House 5704. If you have not already please share your convictions with your state representative and senator. In the future, as the bill winds its way through the legislative process, please feel free to share your view with me once again I look forward tour mutual success in this historical endeavor. Sincerely yours," Following his term in office, Dukakis taught at Northeastern University where the school's new Center for Urban and Regional Policy was named in his honor in 2008. Michael Dukakis (b. 1933), a 3-term governor of Massachusetts (1975-1979, 1983-1991), was the Democratic candidate for President in 1988, losing to Vice President George Bush. He was only the second Greek-American governor, following Spiro Agnew. Widely respected as an effective governor, Dukakis provided a textbook case of how not to run a Presidential campaign. Normal mailing folds. Fine condition.

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