The Sunday column about Canadian skepticism about regionalized school districts was a long time coming (“Canada tried consolidation: It didn’t work,” Oct. 3).

Regionalized school districts never have worked, even when they were little and called school administrative districts, a device to shift education costs away from the state and benefit poor communities at the expense of wealthier neighbors.

There had been a federal study earlier, which reported a lot wrong with the idea. However, the state announced a five-year goal to statewide SAD conversion.

Some communities refused to join, seeing the next step, regionalization, ahead.

Freeport never did bite, until the state Department of Education, aided by tax-paid, pie-in-the-sky advertising in newspapers and television, persuaded the gullible public to approve statewide regionalized education.

Did our education, in either quality or cost, improve? Canadians were smarter. They never bought any part of the plan.

The solution? Abandon the whole idea by means of legislative action if possible, or by public referendum if not.

Maybe this time around the voting public will see the light and return education to local control.

John L. Nichols
Freeport

 

‘Tundra’ finally makes it to Sunday comics pages

 

Thank you! After several years of requesting that you add the comic strip “Tundra” to your pages, I was thrilled to see that it has appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

I hope you will be placing it in as a daily strip as well. Thank you again.

James Konkel
Cape Elizabeth

 

Common Core standards don’t affect local control

 

I am writing to express support for Maine’s adoption of the Common Core state education standards.

As a parent of two children in RSU-15 (Gray-New Gloucester), I have already seen the positive impact of the Common Core standards.

In August, I attended a workshop in our school system where although they were not the topic of the workshop, I heard a fair amount about them.

I was impressed with how excited the teachers were about the standards. I have already seen my fifth-grader’s teacher tapping into online resources resulting from the Common Core standards, and my daughter is excited and challenged by school in whole new ways.

The Common Core state standards were not developed by the federal government; they were created in collaboration by education leaders from the states. They provide a common platform for private and public investment in educational tools.

Without common standards, small states like Maine end up having to buy textbooks and other learning tools developed for states like Texas and California, because only large states are worth the companies’ investment.

It makes sense to share our expertise across states to pool our limited resources to find the best ways to help students achieve the standards, rather than each state re-inventing a slightly different wheel.

Think about the resources we would waste, not to mention the quality of our transportation, if every state designed its own automobile using a slightly different tire.

I encourage Mainers to avoid knee-jerk reactions based on unfounded fears about nationalizing education. Check out www.corestandards.org — I found the FAQ and Myths-Facts pages especially helpful.

You will see the Common Core standards are not an evil plot to take away local control, but a collaborative effort by educators across states to improve our children’s education, a goal we all share.

Becca Matusovich
New Gloucester

 

Sanford wasn’t included in first casino referendum

 

The article “Job blues cast casino in new light” in the Maine Sunday Telegram Oct. 3 repeats the error connecting the defeated casino referendum of 2003 with a location, the town of Sanford.

A site was not included in the question.

“The Maine Tribal Gaming Act” referendum instead asked, “Do you want to allow a casino to be run by the Passamaquoddy Tribe and Penobscot Nation if part of the revenue is used for state education and municipal revenue sharing?”

No site was specified. The sponsors zeroed in on Sanford, where I live, because they thought we were desperate and naive.

We learned quickly to ask: What jobs? What pay? What benefits? But specifics were difficult to get.

The act was to legalize gambling run by the two Indian tribes in Maine. It would be subject to town requirements as the next step if the bill passed.

I know, because I was on the Sanford Casinos No! steering committee.

Please correct your story. Thank you.

Virginia Spencer
Sanford

 

Shallow-water wind power offers unique opportunities

 

Am I the only one who thinks it peculiar that none of the gubernatorial candidates is advocating for a public/private collaboration to finance shallow water wind generated electricity in the Gulf of Maine?

All the candidates seem to know that good jobs for Mainers are our highest priority. They all seem to know that businesses will not bring such jobs to Maine given our taxes, our health insurance costs and our electricity costs.

There’s probably not much we can do about taxes and health insurance costs right now but we can clearly take control of our electricity costs.

The Gulf of Maine is shallow, and shallow water wind technology has been functional for at least 10 years. Maine companies like Cianbro and Reed and Reed know how to construct sites for shallow-water wind turbines.

The people of Maine already own the wind blowing in the Gulf. Turbines can be placed where they won’t bother anyone or other living creatures.

If the people of Maine were to collaborate with the private sector to finance such a venture, we would control the cost of our electricity and that of our children’s children’s electricity.

We could guarantee businesses reasonable electricity rates 10 years into the future. We would control our financial destiny.

Iberdrola, a company from Spain, waits in the wings to control our destiny if we are too meek to do it ourselves or if we’d prefer to continue bickering about the details of how we will generate our future electricity.

That would be like Texans a hundred years ago not developing the crude oil under their feet because they insisted on continuing to use the steam engine.

If you were running for governor and could offer to control Maine’s financial destiny, would you not?

James Tierney
Auburn

 

In 1942, black racers were common in Kennebec County

 

In the recent article about the black racer in Maine (“Biologists get grip on state’s largest snake,” Oct. 1), it was stated that none of the snakes has been found outside York County, except for some specimens collected in the 1800s in the Lewiston area.

A paper published in 1942 reported black racers were common in the area of Cobbosseecontee Lake in Kennebec County.

The reference for this paper is J.A. Fowler, 1942 Herpetological notes from Lake Cobbosseecontee and vicinity, Kennebec County, Maine.

G.W. Helfrich
Brunswick