AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has released a new video highlighting recent education reform, noting that the LePage Administration increased funding for public schools in 2011 by $63 million. In recent weeks, election advertisements have targeted education efforts claiming the Administration has undermined public schools in Maine.
“Thankfully, we are coming to an end of the ‘mean season.’ I look forward to working with legislators who want to put our students first,” Governor LePage said. I encourage any legislator who wishes to put Maine students ahead of politics; ahead of union rhetoric and partisan talking points; and most importantly, to give each and every student a shot at a brighter future, to join us in our work,” said Governor LePage.
In addition to providing $63 million to education, Governor LePage also spearheaded legislation which enhanced and expanded of vocational education opportunities at all levels, reformed Maine’s teacher certification process with the goal of creating greater flexibility with regard to teacher certification, and reformed performance-based teacher evaluation systems that would result in the dismissal of ineffective teachers.
Maine also became the 41st state in the nation to allow charter schools and there is clear support for the initiative. Five groups submitted proposals to open public charter schools in Maine last week. These proposals are the second round of applications to the Maine Charter School Commission, which is considered an “authorizer” under Maine’s public charter school law. The Commission is a seven-member body that can authorize up to 10 public charter schools statewide over the next decade. Local school boards can authorize additional public charter schools. Maine’s first charter schools, the Maine Academy of Natural Science and Cornville Regional Charter School, opened in October.
“Attacks on our public charter school bill suggest the opposite of the truth,” Governor LePage said, “When this election is over and the 126th Maine Legislature convenes, it will once again be time to put away the campaign rhetoric and put Maine students first. To those politicians and groups who oppose charter schools I suggest they do one simple thing – stop in to the Maine Academy of Natural Science or Cornville Regional School and visit with those students – learn about how they have new hope for a prosperous future here in Maine,” the Governor continued.