- The Maine Wire - https://www.themainewire.com -

LePage Administration Sets Education Agenda

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/