In a major shake-up, lawmakers are tightening state control over community colleges, tying budgets to academic performance and giving education officials greater say over choosing and evaluating college presidents.
The wide-ranging policy changes, a chief goal of the Patrick administration and the business community, bring greater oversight to the 15-college system, long criticized for low graduation rates and a lack of uniform standards. The legislation will also extend to the college level the accountability movement that has reshaped K-12 education.
“This is a real breakthrough,” said Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, which lobbied for the changes. “In exchange for these changes, there’s every likelihood of more support.”
The two-year colleges, which educate nearly half of all students who attend public colleges in Massachusetts, are seen as critical training grounds for many professions and a key path for many students from low-income backgrounds.