LePage Claims “Unconstitutional” For State To Fund Schools

Posted on October 26, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

A moment from another recent town hall, this one held by Maine Governor Paul LePage at Lewiston High School, is getting some attention:

    “Do you know that it’s unconstitutional in the state of Maine for the state to pay one dollar towards education?” the governor asked the Lewiston audience. “But we’ve never changed the constitution. We’ve been doing it for decades, but it’s [clear] the constitution says the state will only ensure that local communities pay for educating their students at their costs.”

    “And I’m meeting with the Chief Justice on Friday to ask why does this continue to happen? And they say, ‘Well, we take the precedent and you’ve been doing it, so we would say you’ve got to continue doing it.’ So if that’s the case, then why are we asking a governor to take an oath to the United States Constitution and an oath to the Maine Constitution when the Constitution doesn’t mean what the Constitution says. It only means what the court says it says when they decide to discuss it in the courts. But that’s a fact.”

Maine Education Association President Lois Chesley-Kilby has responded to the above and other allegations from LePage:

    MEA Responds to LePage’s Comments on School Funding, Unions, Guns in School

    At a town hall forum in Lewiston last week, the governor talked about teachers unions not supporting his online education initiatives. He also said the state would never fund education at 55 percent, and said that according to the state constitution, state funding to local schools is “unconstitutional.” He also said he supports allowing teachers and staff to carry guns in school as long as they have the “proper training” and added that it is “stupid to put a sign on the wall that says ‘gun-free zone’” because the sign serves as an invitation for mass shooters to come in. Below is a response to some of those comments from the president of the Maine Education Association, Lois Kilby-Chesley:

    Re Online Education:

      In spite of the Governor’s belief in education-by-screen as he mentioned in this Lewiston town hall, the efforts of the teachers who see students every day cannot be matched by any computer program. The Governor is so wrong if he thinks the solution to educating our students is through a screen. There are innumerable ways that educators interact with students that are missed by technology. The nuances of students’ facial expressions, the look of engagement in an activity, knowing when a student really needs someone to listen, are all things no computer program can replicate. Teaching and learning are all about being a human, being a citizen, being a lifelong learner. Teaching and learning are not all exclusively about technology. Technology is only one piece of the education puzzle.

      Governor LePage takes questions from an audience member at Lewiston town hall, 10/13/15.

      Governor LePage takes questions from an audience member at Lewiston town hall, 10/13/15.

      The Governor flaunts that 55% funding of education never will become a reality. He clearly doesn’t believe that our students deserve equal opportunities no matter where the student lives and regardless of zip code. MEA believes that 55% is one part of the answer to giving EVERY student in Maine a chance to compete — based on achievement, motivation, and the chance to improve him/herself — not based on family income or community demographics. The Essential Programs and Services (EPS) model for funding education is meant to level the funding to schools, providing a more fair way get resources to schools than exclusively through property taxes collected by towns.

    Re School Funding from the State:

      Once again the Governor threatens that the Constitution isn’t being followed. He apparently believes that municipalities are responsible for all education costs. But, he either forgets, or doesn’t know, that laws require costs of education be paid by the state (including 55%). School funding by the state would only be unConstitutional if the document prohibited school funding, which it doesn’t. In fact, without state payments to schools how would the Governor propose to fund the charter schools he so loves to promote?

    Re Arming Teachers:

      The idea of arming educators was discussed in the past and it was quite obvious the Legislature was not willing to risk school safety by having teachers and others carry firearms in our schools. If the Governor proposes educators should be trained to carry guns in classrooms, the MEA will work vehemently against him.

      The Maine Education Association represents, and only exists, because our educator members in Maine believe that our organization works to improve schools for our students. We are much more than educator advocates, and continually work for social justice in our classrooms and for our communities.

    Re the MEA:

      There are many examples that discredit the Governor’s pessimistic view of “the teachers’ union.” We do many things including, in just the last year or so, collecting items — including more than 1,000 pairs of socks — for Togus Veterans’ Hospital, partnering with WMTW on an anti-bullying campaign, partnering with WGME and Good Shepherd Food Bank in School Spirit Challenges in southern Maine, partnering with WABI to collect food for hungry families in north/central Maine, and for the last two years (and again upcoming this year) providing books for Maine students. This year, in partnership with a local Foundation, we will once again be providing every Maine first grader in every public school, a book to begin an at-home library.

      In addition, educators in schools across the state take collections of items for those in need, dip into their own pockets to pay for shoes, coats, mittens and food for students, and have an ever-expanding list of ways they help our students and their families.

      In addition the MEA Board of Directors and other members have collected materials for schools in need whenever necessary to help them get by very difficult times. (Hall School in Portland had a fire for instance a while back, and members contributed to help them and MEA bought gift cards.)

      The Governor, as he is prone to doing, continues to attack public educators by attacking the MEA, as he did again in Lewiston. As I said earlier, the MEA only exists because of our members, so when the Governor attacks MEA he is attacking every one of our hard-working, conscientious teachers, educational support professionals, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, school secretaries and other MEA members. He needs to learn that education matters, and educators matter, because we are the people who are with our students every day doing our best in spite of his actions that repeatedly demean and devalue our public schools, school employees and students.

Here is the full video of Governor LePage’s town hall.

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Maine Democrats Introduce LD 695, Clarifying Right To Opt Out Of Standardized Testing

Posted on March 8, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Lois Kilby-Chesley, Maine Education Association president, and Rep. Sara Gideon

Lois Kilby-Chesley, Maine Education Association president, and Rep. Sara Gideon

Democrats held a press conference in the State House’s Welcome Center with area parents and PTA members to roll out a proposed bill aimed at clarifying the rights of students bombarded with a slew of standardized testing under the “No Child Left Behind” Act.

While parents already have the right to opt out, there has been confusion among parents, superintendents and school boards. LD 695, “An Act To Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments” would codify those rights in state statute and eliminate any confusion on the matter. The bill is sponsored by Asst House Majority Leader Rep. Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) and Senator Nate Libby (D-Androscoggin).

Due to federal mandates, schools are spending more time than ever preparing students for standardized tests. Under No Child Left Behind, students are tested every year in grades 3 through 8, and the state is moving toward testing all third- through 12th-graders.

In addition to codifying parents’ rights, the bill:

· requires alternate learning opportunities for students who opt out;

· requires that school districts inform parents of their rights by posting the information in a public place, like the Internet;

· ensures teachers are allowed to notify parents of their rights; and

· prohibits the state from penalizing a district when students have opted out.

Via press release:

    “As the mother of three kids, I know how much time these tests now take and about the stress and anxiety high-stakes testing causes for teachers, educators, parents and students,” said Rep. Sara Gideon (D-Freeport). “I really want Maine to have a conversation about the sheer number of tests our kids are taking, the effectiveness of these tests and whether we’re using these tests in the best way to improve education for our kids.”

    DSC_0138“Teachers, parents and students in my community are fearful, frustrated and seeking relief from these heavy-handed testing mandates,” said Sen. Nate Libby (D-Lewiston). “This legislation is simple and straightforward. And, it will ensure parents and students know and understand their rights. School performance, teacher performance and student performance based so heavily on standardized testing is deeply flawed. We all know some students perform better than others on standardized tests and that test results do not universally reflect individual students overall academic performance. Classroom time is at a premium. State and federal mandates on classroom instruction continue to grow while teachers and students struggle to meet all the requirements in a six-hour school day.”

    Karen McClure-Richard, a Lewiston parent, described the standardized testing experience of her daughter. The tests didn’t have “cut scores” – set benchmarks for passing a test – but instead looked for progress made from previous tests. Because her daughter scored high, her goal scores climbed higher and higher. In her sixth-grade year, she put a great deal of pressure on herself before missing the goal score by one point despite doing her very best.

    “She came home very upset and eventually told me that she felt ‘stupid,’”
    McClure-Richard said. “My daughter who made honors every single year felt stupid and subsequently lost her love of school because of a meaningless test. Because she missed the growth goal, she also contributed to the ‘failure’ of her teacher and the ‘failure’ of the school even though she scored the equivalent of one grade level higher than the grade she was in.”

    Lorri Cahill, a kindergarten teacher in Skowhegan who has taught for 31 years, said there is no longer balance in the educational system.

    DSC_0155“The increasing amount of testing and assessing is leading to missed educational opportunities. In order to attempt to standardize children’s performance, we have adopted scripted lessons that are devoid of developmental theory. We are told to individualize our instruction, yet use high-stakes standardized tests to measure the success of that instruction,” said Cahill, who is opting her own son out of tests this spring.

    Lisa Cooley of Jackson, a school board member in RSU 4, said public education needs to be more responsive to students. The school district serves the communities of Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Waldo.

    “This testing regime has created a toxic learning environment where too many children are left behind, disconnected from learning and ill-prepared for successful lives. With the advent of standards that are enforced by testing, we’ve embraced a regime that runs counter not only to the way kids learn, but to their happiness and fulfillment,” she said.

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(BLAST FROM THE PAST) Maine Asks LePage: “Which Communties Are About To Default, Governor?”

Posted on November 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

(With Governor LePage now stating that there is a school in Maine, which he wouldn’t name because it’s “embarrassing,” where only 23 percent of graduates are proficient in English and math, it seems a good time to dust off this oldie but goodie post… ~AP)

Originally posted 19 Feb 2011:

 


My friend Gerald has a “default poll” post running today, so I thought we could run one as well to elaborate on his poll! BTW, so far 92% (23 of 25) responders think LePage is “making sh*t up”.

Our MPW Question:

“Which communities do you believe Gov. LePage was referring to when he said that some were ready to default?”

Even in these days of zippity-quick social media, strong enough that a handful of people can overthrow 30 years of oppression by utilizing Facebook and Twitter, it appears that sometimes it still takes some time for traditional media to pay attention and catch up to what’s going on in their own state.

Take for example, Governor LePage’s statement as first reported in Dirigo Blue (emphasis mine):

I have transcribed the section in which Gov. LePage mentions these couple of communities. The text that is struck through was part of the prepared remarks he did not read. The underlined is what he added:

We owe twice as much in debt as we expect to collect in General Fund Revenues the next biennium. Over the next two years and our the State of Maine debt as a percentage of state GDP is twice the national average; twice. There are several states that I was reading this week that our teetering on default with municipal bonds. They are Texas, New Jersey, and New York, and folks, we’re only a few numbers behind them.Because whether or not the State defaults, we have a couple of communities that are ready to default. So folks, it is a lot more serious than anyone is willing to give it credit.

That’s the bad news.

Pretty serious stuff from the Governor! This was an address delivered Thursday 10 Feb 2011 to the joint session of the Statehouse with plenty of media there- so one would think that said media would have picked UP on this statement by the Governor and asked him specifically,“What communities?”

Yet none did. For DAYS.

DB then followed up by asking legislators why they were not questioning the Governor- the next day, Democrats responded with a press release:


Democratic lawmakers ask Governor to name “default” communities mentioned in budget speech 


Legislators from financial services committee say we must hear from Maine towns that are ready to “default”
AUGUSTA – Democratic lawmakers on the Insurance and Financial Affairs Committee, which considers policy related to banking and foreclosure matters, are calling on the governor to identify the Maine towns he named in his budget speech that are ready to “default.”

“If the governor knows of towns in our state that are facing bankruptcy, lawmakers have an obligation and responsibility to hear directly from those towns,” said Rep. Sharon Treat of Hallowell, who serves as the lead Democrat on the committee and a sponsor of Maine’s strong foreclosure protection laws. “If Maine municipalities are truly on the brink of insolvency, we need to hear about it and make sure the legal and financial safeguards are in place to protect the public.”

The Maine Municipal Association told the House Democratic Office that they are unaware of any Maine town in danger of going bankrupt.

“If my town was facing bankruptcy, I would want to know and I would consider it my duty as representative to work with the state to help my community,” said Rep. Adam Goode of Bangor, a Democratic lawmaker serving on the committee. “The governor’s speech was the first time we heard that there are municipalities in our state that are going bankrupt. The comments are even more worrisome considering the governor’s budget proposal to cut funding to towns.”

The governor’s budget proposal reduces the percentage of revenue sharing provided to municipalities for two years.

Since then, attention is finally being paid by local media and pressure put upon the LePage administration to “put up or shut up”, as people on Facebook and Twitter are discussing the comments, the Governor’s refusal to disclose the names of the communities- and statewide speculation is growing as to whether or not there is any truth to these statements at all.

MPBN: LePage Refuses to Name “Ready to Default” Maine Towns

 

But the governor has not budged. In a statement, his office said LePage “has had private conversations with leaders from a couple of Maine communities that face severe financial stress. He is monitoring the progress, but will not be naming the communities.””I don’t know what private discussions may or may not have been held, but we at Maine Municipal Association are not aware of any two or three municipalities sort of teetering on insolvency,” says Eric Conrad, spokesman for the association, which represents Maine’s towns and cities.

Adding to the group’s confusion is the governor’s lack of specifics about the problems the cited communities were facing. “We heard him when he said it,” Conrad says. “But we looked a each other and we’re just not sure–was he talking about pension liability, for instance, or overall financial operations. We’re just not clear.”

State statute says that a special board would have to be established to enable financially-troubled municipalities to get assistance from the state. Staff at the Maine Municipal Association say that has not happened before, in their recollection.

Lewiston Sun Journal: LePage dogged by calls to name “default” towns

LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt has declined to name the communities the governor referred to in his budget speech. “The governor doesn’t think it’s his place to share that kind of news,” Demeritt said. “He was speaking in his budget address, and that’s as far as he wanted to go with it.”Demeritt said he wasn’t aware of any communities approaching the state because they couldn’t pay their bills. However, he said, “the governor knows how to read a balance sheet” and he had identified a couple of communities that were in trouble.

Eric Conrad, communications director for the Maine Municipal Association, said no community had come forward with that kind of news. “We’re just not sure what (LePage) meant when he said that,” Conrad said. “If there were communities approaching insolvency, we think we would know. But we don’t know if the governor was talking about pensions or something else.”

Conrad said nobody he spoke with at the association could recall an example of a town defaulting or initiating the state takeover outlined in Title 30 of Maine law.

Asked why the governor wouldn’t name the communities, Demeritt said the governor didn’t think it was appropriate, even though those towns would become public if they fell under Title 30.

Hmm. Someone should file a FOIA to see that same spreadsheet that Demeritt referenced…

MyFoxMaine: Governor’s ‘Default’ Claim Questioned

The Maine Municipal Association says it’s not aware of any Maine town in danger of going bankrupt.  But the Governor’s office says it is true.  Still, it does not plan to release more details.”Governor LePage has had private conversations with leaders from a couple of Maine communities that face severe financial stress.   He is monitoring the progress, but will not be naming the communities,” said Dan Demeritt with the Governor’s office.

WGME: Governor LePage: Some Maine communities facing “default”

Bangor Daily News (same story as LSJ): LePage refuses to name ‘ready-to-default’ towns

And still, the Governor has refused to answer the questions. And for the second week in a row, LePage has failed to issue a weekly address to the State of Maine.

So much for openness and transparency…

 

 

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Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: What Is Best For Our Students?

Posted on September 29, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Audio link here.

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

My administration has one primary principle that governs education policy, and it is a simple one: What is best for the student? That is the number one question that we ask ourselves when we develop education policy.

Education is the foundation to success. I know, for me, education was the catalyst that got me off the streets.

But the fact is education in Maine has become a partisan issue when it ought not to be.

I had the opportunity earlier this year to take part in the Governor’s Education Symposium hosted by the Hunt Institute and the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Former governors Jim Hunt and Jeb Bush brought together Republican and Democrat governors to talk about best practices and ways to improve our education system.

The two governors brought to the conference U.S. Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. He was a guest speaker, and believe-it-or-not, he and I agree on a lot when it comes to education.

Currently, Maine is in the process of requesting more flexibility under the No Child Left Behind Act. We’re working with Secretary Duncan to ensure we have a way to measure schools that is more realistic and more meaningful, and that we will have new, more effective tools to make our schools better.

Every state needs change agents and they have to be willing to fight for the student. In Maine, we have superintendents fighting for appropriations, principals fighting for pretty schools, and union leadership fighting for more dues. Who’s fighting for the student? The teacher. Our elected officials, you and me, need to fight for the quality teachers and a plan that shifts away from the status quo.

Our administration is focusing on reform efforts in a handful of core areas, based on work that was done in high performing states.

This brings us to Maine’s ABC Plan. ABC stands for accountability, best practices and choice.

The “C” in our plan is about Choice and I would like to share with you why this part of the plan is paramount. Another word for choice is option. If we are striving for more successful outcomes for our students we must offer multiple options. The one-size fits all approach does not work.

When we talk about options what do we mean? Well, public education works for some students, but not all of them. So, how can we reach the students who are slipping through the cracks? We do it by offering customized education through options. By way of charter schools, private, and homeschooling career and technical education, and digital learning, both online and virtual opportunities.

For the past 20 months our administration has highlighted the benefits of career and technical education. In fact, Secretary Duncan has applauded Maine’s efforts to expand access to career and technical education.

I will continue to stand up for vocational education because we know the skills that are taught at career and technical centers are what our job creators are requiring from their workers. Good-paying jobs are on the line.

Digital learning is another option our administration is focusing on. However, there is a difference between online learning and virtual learning.

Online learning doesn’t require a teacher while virtual learning does. The key to successful virtual learning is the teacher that interacts with students. If there is an effective teacher that can engage with his or her students through technology, hundreds of children can be educated successfully. With that said, it’s very important to have assistant teachers in the classroom to support the students, but a quality teacher is the critical component to making virtual education work.

Online learning is another option to provide learning opportunities to students in a way that works best for them because they can go at their own pace, set their own schedules and choose from a greater variety of courses.

Right now, we’re working on a digital learning plan that we hope will mean wider access to high quality digital learning options for all Maine students.

There are many options for students, Maine just needs to offer these options to all students not the select few who can afford it.

For me, education was a way out. It was a way out of poverty and a start to a new life. But, believe me; I had plenty of mentors along the way.

Today’s students need role models that will guide them. They need great teachers and great school leaders.

There’s nothing partisan about education when we ask ourselves what is best for our students?

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Weekly Address of Gov. Paul LePage: “Students First” Agenda Under Attack

Posted on September 8, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Listen here.

It is truly amazing to me as I see in situation after situation that when it comes to education, we are debating the needs of adults and administrators over the needs of students.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

The new school year is just beginning across Maine and we continue to work here in Augusta to advance an education agenda that puts students first.

Our students-first agenda, though, is under attack.

Just this past weekend, two newspaper articles addressed two different, but related, education issues – both about our efforts to give families and students the best possible options in education. The first issue was superintendent transfers, in which two superintendents can agree on letting a student from one school district go to school in another. The other was about the state’s digital learning efforts – a plan for making sure that our students have access to online and virtual learning opportunities to support their education.

In both cases, our education policy was taken to task because of a perception that what we are doing somehow hurts school boards, superintendents or taxpayers. And yet nobody was talking about our core goal: what is best for the students.

I would like to talk about one of those articles and the real facts.

Digital learning is one form of choice that can benefit students. For some reason, Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen has been taken to task for seeking the advice of national experts in this area. The newspaper charged that we let that group write our state policy. There’s only one problem: we don’t have a state policy on digital learning yet.

In fact, a stakeholder group was assigned by the Legislature to take up this task, and the group held its first meeting last week. We are a long way from having a digital learning plan for this state. And we badly need one. We are a rural state, and a lot of times smaller school districts can’t offer certain courses, so they turn to online options for their students.

School districts around the state have been asking for guidance on this issue because they have hundreds of students who take online courses now. We have worked with a national advocacy group on some key guidelines, things that just make common sense. Such as: All students should have access to online learning options. Online learning providers should be of high quality, and their courses should be aligned to Maine’s learning standards.

We have to work out details, such as whether we’ll require every teacher, no matter where they teach from, to have Maine certification, or if we’ll arrange for reciprocity with other states, and on what terms. These are far from determined, and are just the kind of thing that the group will be discussing. When they are done, either they or our Department of Education, or the Education Committee itself, will propose legislation that will be discussed in public. Instead of worrying about who wrote the language for not-yet-existent proposals, critics should be worrying about whether those ideas are good for our students. That should be the only litmus test.

Furthermore, the newspaper lied saying that my campaign was paid by an out of state company to push virtual learning. This is a bold face lie.

Despite the misinformation being circulated, we are hard at work building a system of education that is focused on what is best for the student, which is why I am extremely disappointed that a newspaper would use its space to fabricate an issue where none exists; and, more importantly, to stand up in support of the needs and wants of administrators over the best interests of students. It’s time we put more focus on students’ needs first, and less on the wine and cheese elitists who are okay with SOME students having access to expanded educational opportunities like digital learning, but not ALL students. I believe ALL students and ALL families should have access to great learning opportunities, not simply the rich.

I wish our students and teachers a great school year and urge all Mainers to drive carefully now that school is back in session.

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UPDATEDx2: Another LePage Veto; Another Swipe at MEA’s Support of Mainers United

Posted on May 29, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Governor LePage today vetoed LD 1781, An Act To Restructure the National Board Certification Program for Teachers, citing that he believes a more coordinated state-wide solution is required.

But a simple glance at the press release itself reveals that the Governor’s problem with the bill has more to do with last week’s announcement of MEA’s support for the Mainers United marriage equality campaign than about the bill itself.

In his accompanying veto message (see below), he said: “LD 1781 requires teachers to partially fund the program, while simultaneously paying union dues which are squandered on a host of activities not even remotely related to professional development.”

The press release goes deeper and clarifies LePage’s statement (emphasis mine):

‘Meanwhile, the MEA announced its endorsement recently of the same-sex marriage proposal on the November ballot. This announcement is an example of what the union is choosing to focus on rather than expanding and enhancing opportunities for teacher development.’

A reminder: The 125th Legislature will be back at the State House on Thursday. No word yet on whether this latest action will be brought up at that time.

Update: Sen. Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook), member of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee (LCRED) and strong union supporter, sent this statement regarding Gov. LePage’s veto:

It is just another thing that the Governor has said that he has no clue about. We have a saying that goes, “I would like to buy you for what you know, and sell you for what you think you know.” I would be a rich man with this Governor.

The laws of the United States bars anyone from being forced to join a Union. At the same time the Supreme Court has upheld “service fees” to be constitutional. This has been argued to no end by lawyers that were well funded by big business (Koch Brothers). It is well established, but the Governor continues to play in his own playground and argue that it isn’t legal. The Unions have to be very careful when they collect money from non-union, fair share payers that the money isn’t spent on political activities. They are subject to audit at anytime. His claims are just untrue, but that is what he does best.

Updatex2: The sponsor of LD1781, Sen. Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland), had this via a press release:

Maine students deserve every opportunity to succeed. This bill was an investment to ensure we have the best teachers in every classroom. Instead of strengthening our classrooms, improving our teachers, and giving our students a fair shot, the governor complained about the teachers’ union. He is putting politics ahead of what’s best.

Teachers are the foundation for a successful public education and we know that the most effective teachers are also life-long learners. The governor’s veto essentially sends a message to teachers that their learning is not important.

More from the release from the Maine Senate Democrats: “out of an estimated 15,000 public school teachers in Maine, only 158 are National Board Certified. National Board Certification is administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. As part of the certification process candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas and spend up to 400 hours completing the program.”

::

LD1781 Veto Messagehttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/95200671/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-29jqudu1e8xbh28k59c3

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LePage: “Maine Doesn’t Need to Spend More on Education”; “Needs to Get More Funds in Classrooms”

Posted on September 26, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

(Cross posted at Dirigo Blue)

(Huh??) Governor LePage took a trip down to the Big Apple this week to participate in a panel discussion for NBC’s “Education Nation”. He was one of ten governors invited to the event.

Take a look:

 

 

    Governor LePage told the group that he believes Maine doesn’t need to spend more money on education, but that it should do a better job making sure more education funds go into classrooms.He also says he’s learning a lot from how other countries educate their kids.

    LePage said, “We’re looking at 10 countries, the top 10 countries. They all have one common denominator. A teacher not only has teaching skills, but content skills. And that’s what we don’t do in this country.”

 

Wow, that just rolled off the tongue with amazing clarity and electrified the audience, huh? But not exactly the soundbite that some of his supporters had anticipated: 

    Governor LePage will focus on leading the global economy. Two-thirds of the jobs created in the U.S. over the next few years are expected to require at least some college education, and if the nation is going to compete with its global competitors, the pathway is through emphasizing high skills and innovation. Yet states continue to struggle with creating a successful pathway from K-12 to college graduation – especially for the students and workers who need the economic boost of higher education the most. And as high-demand, high-growth science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers become increasingly mobile, the competition is sharp.

Maybe it’s a matter of style rather than substance, as LePage was especially “terse” in urging the UMaine system reforms need to be “bigger and bolder”:


    “Given the tough economic challenges facing the state, more money – either from the general fund or tuition increases – cannot be the solution,”
    wrote LePage. “Instead, I suggest reforms related to resource allocation, increased productivity, elimination of duplicative services, specialization, innovation, and perhaps through the selection of a proven agent of change as the next chancellor of the University System.”

    LePage suggested a series of reforms, sometimes extolling his views of problems in the system in his signature gruff terms.

    “We should strive to have each campus become a true leader in a given area, rather than multiple campuses overextending themselves in a hodgepodge of unfocused endeavors,” wrote LePage, who also called for noninstructional staff positions to be reduced systemwide in favor of hiring more professors and instructors.

    LePage also urged the system to require more productivity of employees, such as professors taking on more graduate students and giving cash bonuses for high productivity or securing grant funding.

    “Since the system is currently involved in contract negotiations, this may be an ideal time for its leadership to demand more from its employees,” wrote LePage.

    LePage also suggested a “top-to-bottom review” of services offered by the university and community college systems and the consolidation of duplicative efforts.

    “A comparison of all employees and their functions may reveal significant duplication of efforts,” wrote the governor.

It really is a case of he only knows one business model- that of Marden’s. That, or as he only has a hammer, everything before him looks like a nail.

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