November 20, 2012

Letters to the editor: LePage's words discourage educators

As a Maine educator, I am personally insulted and offended by Gov. LePage's recent comments about public education in our state ("LePage's criticism of Maine schools disappoints Maine principals," Nov. 14).

click image to enlarge

Responding to critical remarks by Gov. Paul LePage about public education in Maine, a teacher invites him “to visit my classroom anytime to see the challenges we face and the success we foster.”

2010 File Photo/Gregory Rec

Like many teachers, I had followed another career path before making the choice to dedicate my life of work to the children of Maine.

As a 20-something professional living out of state, I decided to return to Maine, complete a master's program and work to improve the lives and learning of the students in my home state. That was 13 years ago. I wonder what message an aspiring teacher in my situation would receive from such comments by our own governor.

It seems to me that the governor should be using his position to encourage such young, vibrant, energetic professionals to return to Maine to invigorate our economy. If reform of our education system is to take place, it will start with our teachers, who care deeply about the quality of students' learning.

Gov. LePage should stop insulting teachers and start leading. I welcome him to visit my classroom anytime to see the challenges we face and the success we foster.

I am not unique in this. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the creativity I see in our Maine teachers. Perhaps if Gov. LePage actually visited some Maine schools with an open mind, he would see some of the great learning that is occurring.

Kate Sheldon


Seniors face deadline soon to make Medicare changes

The election -- and with it, the election season -- has passed. Regardless of your political persuasion, you and people across Maine and the country can take a deep breath and go about your business.

One issue that was the subject of a great deal of political discussion was Medicare. It's especially difficult when such talk comes during the important annual election period -- the one time during the year when Medicare beneficiaries should be evaluating their coverage options.

For most seniors, it's the only time of year they can make changes. Many plans make changes (even good changes!), so it is a good idea for seniors to review their options and explore alternatives.

But you only have until Dec. 7 to make a change. And, contrary to some of the fear tactics we heard, Medicare plans remain.

In fact, Jon Blum, acting deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (the government agency that runs Medicare), recently said, "While you can't predict everything in life, you can do your best to be prepared. Medicare will be there, stronger than ever, to help."

Over the next couple weeks, I encourage seniors to explore resources that can help answer questions:

Visit to learn more about your different options, including Medicare Advantage plans. It can be a great tool and one right at your fingertips.

Talk to those you know who are already enrolled in Medicare. What were their lessons learned and what advice can they give when making these decisions?

Call or visit an Area Agency on Aging.

Making choices about Medicare can be challenging, and don't feel like you have to do this alone! Just remember, you only have until Dec. 7.

Larry Henry

vice president of senior products, Martin's Point Health Care


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