LePage Administration Sets Education Agenda

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Reform begins with the ABC’s – accountability, best practices, and choice

AUGUSTA – Following a report released by Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG), Governor Paul LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will hold a media conference in the Hall of Flags of the State House on Wednesday, July 25 to discuss Maine’s educational system and the Administration’s plan moving forward. The conference will begin at 2:00 p.m.

The PEPG report, an analysis of growth trends of student performance in math, reading, and science, ranked Maine 40th out of the 41 participating American states. The study examined test scores from one U.S. series of tests and three series of tests administered by international organizations given to fourth and eighth grade students across the country.

In 1992, Maine was ranked 3rd in the nation in overall test scores, but has fallen nine places since then. Maine is currently ranked 12th in overall test scores – the lowest of the participating New England States.

Governor LePage and Commissioner Bowen will present in more detail the findings of the PEPG report at the conference, as well as discuss initiatives to improve Maine’s educational system.

“This report reaffirms what we already know: that the status quo in Maine is not working,” said Governor LePage. “Our educational system has neglected to put its students first, and has therefore failed them. We have a lot of work to do to rejuvenate our academic performance.”

Education is a key priority of the LePage Administration, and it is a critical component to a prosperous economy. Last year, Governor LePage increased funding to general purpose aid for education by $63 million over the two-year budget. During the 125th Legislature, the Governor led the initiative to allow charter schools in Maine for the first time, giving more choices to Maine families. The Governor also introduced a series of reforms to improve Career and Technical Education in Maine, bringing it back to the forefront of education and Commissioner Stephen Bowen created comprehensive legislation addressing educator effectiveness, making sure Maine’s educators are evaluated regularly, given the training and support they need to improve, and are held accountable for student achievement and growth.

“We have come to a pivotal moment for the future of Maine’s educational system. We have proof that past methods have not been effective. We now have a chance to change our educational system for the better,” said Commissioner Bowen.

For the full findings of the PEPG report, go to: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/Papers/PEPG12-03_CatchingUp.pdf

For more information on charter schools and Maine’s current educational initiatives, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doe/

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1 COMMENT

  1. Since 2001 the Maine Department of Education, under the reign of Duke Albanese and Susan Gendron, pushed hard for Maine School Districts to adopt “Reform” math programs and whole language programs in ELA.  The reform math programs like Everyday Math and Investigations in Data and Space for K-5 and Connected Math and MaththeMatics for grades 6-8 did not teach basic arithmetic.  These programs, due to their very nature, did not allow parents to help their children with homework. It was like a foreign language to parents who were taught traditional math algorithms. Every parent exposed to these knows what I am talking about.  
    In English classes for these young students, spelling and proper sentence structure no longer were a priority. Handwriting, especially cursive handwriting, was not important either. No emphasis was placed on neatness, quantity, or quality.
    Students who were struggling with math realized they were so far behind when they got to Algebra, many of them just dropped out of school. When students got to High School and had to apply their writing skills to more advanced essays and book reports, they were unable to meet standards.
    Suddenly ten years later we are now wondering “What Happened?” 
    Do we need to make changes to our education system? We sure do, “Stop adopting “New Fads” that have not been proven successful. Unfortunately Maine is continuing down the same path, with the same people making policies. The new Common Core State Standards Initiative (never tested anywhere) comes with National Assessments. Maine is part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium who’s Chief Policy Adviser is Susan Gendron. Maine also just adopted Standards Based Education, pushed through the legislature by a group known as MCEE, run by Duke Albanese. MCEE stands to make a lot of tax dollars for training teachers in this new method. 
    In the meantime school teacher and administrators are swimming in rip tides pushing and pulling in all directions instead of allowing them to focus on the most important direction, teaching our students what they need to know. 

  2. BradfordPOV is right on the money. I feel bad for the really good teachers who keep trying to do what they are asked to do do, only to find the guidelines and standards “moving” every year or two by people who have been out of the classroom way too long and are only interested in power! I also feel bad for the students who have been taught really “fuzzy” math and for the parents who are really interested in their child’s education.

  3. The MEA has destroyed the education system in Maine.  The leadership of this progressive union doesn’t give a hoot about the quality of education our students receive.  For them it’s all about the money, power and saving the jobs of teachers who are clearly failing our children. Plus, they keep pushing a revisionist curriculum to push the progressive agenda. Our children are not getting educated, they are getting indoctrinated! They don’t even know the history of our own country, they don’t know who most  of the founders are, they don’t know the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or anything else about our system of government. I applaud Gov. LePage for taking this bull by the horns.

  4. Think it is great step to teach the teachers how to improve and. UPDATE thier teaching skills

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