MEA Fires Back: “LePage’s (LD 1781) veto is a nonsensical attack on MEA”

Posted on May 30, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

From a press release issued this afternoon:

Over the last month Governor Paul LePage verbally attacked the Maine Education Association (MEA) three times. Each time he berated the Association for not paying for teachers’ professional development-a nonsensical idea that has no basis in history or pedagogical practice.

He even used it as a spurious justification of his veto of LD 1781, a bill that would provide financial support for teachers seeking certification by the prestigious National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

What is really going on?

It is clear from his public record is that LePage attempts to intimidate those who do not agree with him; he dislikes both public and private unions; he is not a big supporter of public education; and, he berates the MEA on a regular basis.

The governor demands agreement and obedience and he is not getting it from the MEA.

He is still mad at our opposition to his raid on the teacher retirement plans, our opposition to charter schools, our opposition to his wide-open school choice bills, our opposition to LD 309 his anti-labor bill, our opposition to his proposed budget cuts in higher education and MPBN, and our opposition to the legislative attack on educator-managed health insurance plans.

The bottom line is that this is a campaign designed to weaken and discredit the Association or bully us into submission.

The governor claims he has a guiding principle of doing “what is best for the student.” Yet, his budget made harmful cuts in the highly effective Head Start program that provides underprivileged children with an important foundation for learning and he vetoed a bill promoting best teaching practices through certification by the NBPTS.

He further claims an interest in enhancing the prestige of Maine teachers by raising their status to that enjoyed in Finland and Singapore. Yet, teachers in those countries are well-paid, well-respected professionals who are empowered to be educational leaders-something the governor does not support.

Both Finland and Singapore have long traditions of strong teacher unions that give educators a voice. Yet, the governor has repeatedly attacked the MEA for being the voice of educators and sharing our views on what matters most to our members-meeting the needs of the students in their classrooms.

For public education to succeed and fulfill all of society’s expectations, we need parents, school boards, administrators, educators, and political leaders, like the governor, to work together and do their part.

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