Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage used is weekly address to talk about the education conference he hosted Friday at Cony High School in Augusta. The first-ever Governor’s Conference on Education served as a forum for dialog between national education experts and officials from other states and Maine lawmakers and school administrators.
“Our first education conference was a great success,” said LePage, who sat center stage for the duration of the event taking notes.
“A quality education is critical to any child’s well-being and future success,” said LePage. “The status quo no longer works.”
LePage said that accountability, best practices and educational choice represent the three pillars of his education reform agenda.
“First, we must create a system with accountability. By measuring school performance and providing assistance to struggling schools, we can improve achievement,” said the Governor.
“High-performing states like Florida put accountability and improvement systems in place to identify schools needing support and then provide them with the tools and resources to succeed,” said LePage. “In this legislative session, we’re proposing similar reform in Maine.”
LePage also spoke of providing more education options to parents and students, an indirect suggestion that Maine’s young charter school legislation should be expanded, not hamstrung, as Democratic lawmakers have proposed.
“Options must be available to students and parents,” said LePage. “In other words, they need choice.”
LePage said giving students more learning options and the ability to determine what school is best suited for them will enhance every student’s public education.
LePage also used his address to criticize the Maine Education Association – also known as the teachers’ union – for placing union interests ahead of students and teachers.
“Union bosses and administrators enjoy many benefits and protections, while teachers and students have been displaced,” said LePage. “There is too much money going to unions and administration when the money should be put into the classroom.”
Read Governor LePage’s full address here.