Gov. Deval Patrick drew praise and criticism last night over a plan to remake the community-college system, including unifying the state's 15 campuses, unveiled in his annual state of the state address.
Delivering his sixth televised address to a joint session of the Legislature last night, Patrick urged lawmakers to lower health-care costs and revise the state's criminal sentencing laws to focus on the most violent offenders.
But he made community colleges the centerpiece of his 24-minute speech, saying the schools must do a better job training 240,000 unemployed workers for nearly 120,000 job openings.
Patrick's proposal calls for consolidating the management of the state's community colleges under the Board of Higher Education, which would set new curriculum standards and new guidelines for selecting presidents for the colleges.