Community Colleges Dispute Call For Overhaul

Monday, November 21, 2011

Community college presidents reacted with surprise yesterday to a new Boston Foundation report calling for a dramatic structural and financial overhaul of the state’s 15-school system.

The report cites poor graduation rates and an inability to produce enough workers with the technical skills that employers demand. It calls for a strong new board to oversee and coordinate the colleges and recommends aggressively measuring student performance and funneling funds to schools with the most impressive statistics.

The presidents said they largely agreed with the report’s assessment of their challenges and some of its recommendations, but they took issue with its chief proposal - the creation of a central governing board - arguing that they already collaborate to solve problems.

“We think we’re doing a hell of a lot better job than we did in the past,’’ said William Messner, president of Holyoke Community College. “We’re on the case.’’

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