AUGUSTA — In the wake of a report critical of Maine student achievement, Gov. Paul LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen are laying out a plan to improve the public schools.

The news conference this afternoon follows a report by Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance last week that said Maine had the second-slowest rate of improvement between 1992 and 2011 among the 41 states measuring fourth- and eighth-grade test score gains in math, reading and science.

Bowen says that’s proof that past methods have not been effective, and the state has a chance to change our educational system for the better.

The Harvard report sparked an exchange of sharply worded letters between LePage and the Maine School Management Association, which says the governor is misinterpreting the report.