April 5, 2013

Letters to the editor: LePage ignores public schools' successes

I am vice chair of the Board of Directors of Maine School Administrative District 60, but I am writing as a private citizen. My views here are my own and are in no way to be taken as a statement by the board.

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Gov. LePage’s recent education reform conference in Augusta “was really a pro-charter propaganda show,” a reader says.

2013 Kennebec Journal File Photo/Andy Molloy

Thank you for stating so directly Gov. LePage's hatred of, and war on, public education, demonstrated by his ceaseless barrages of lies and ignorance about the state and quality of Maine's public schools, and his complete disdain for the hard work and dedication of our teachers, administrators and local school boards ("Our View: Governor declares war on state's public schools," March 29).

The recent actions of Mr. LePage to saddle the public schools with retirement costs while taking state funding – but excepting charter schools – and now demanding an additional transfer of $1 million for the Charter Commission's legal fees – on top of the kangaroo court Mr. LePage called an "education conference" – demonstrate that Mr. LePage's war is total.

The conference's lack of public educators and emphasis on Florida are no surprise.

Several speakers were from a think tank founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that has close ties to the pro-charter American Legislative Exchange Counsel. Readers will recall the close connections between Mr. LePage, Mr. Bush and ALEC.

And your readers should note that Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett, the keynote speaker at the conference, was recently removed as Indiana's superintendent of education by voters who rejected his pro-charter agenda.

This "educational conference" was really a pro-charter propaganda show.

Maine's public schools often best the performance of the very states Mr. LePage demands we follow, despite our low teacher pay.

And the 2012 Quality Counts survey you quoted notes the heavy influence of school funding on performance. Given the financial crises Mr. LePage has foisted on our schools, our ranking should not be a shock.

Charters may well have a place in Maine. But we can't allow our governor to railroad radical reforms without making an honest case, providing fair standards and proper oversight.

Otherwise, we will be looted by unaccountable corporations that care nothing for our children.

David Lentini

North Berwick

Fact check doesn't support writer's views on Bowdoin

A fact check on the commentary by M.D. Harmon on the Bowdoin College curriculum and approach to education reveals a disturbing lack of homework prior to publication ("There's more than one kind of diversity -- but not at Bowdoin," March 29).

He claims the Bowdoin curriculum is too narrow. For example, he cites a summary of a yet-to-be published report that claims Bowdoin offers more courses on gay and lesbian studies than on American history.

A reference to the Bowdoin College catalog for 2012-2013 reveals there are 20 courses offered by the Department of History with specific reference to American history and 17 on gay and lesbian studies. The Department of Government and Legal Studies offers courses on constitutional law and the political system.

Mr. Harmon does not offer an evidence-based dialogue. His citations are not well informed.

He should apologize to Bowdoin students, faculty and fellow alumni.

Stephen F. Loebs, Ph.D.


Limit supply to drive up lobster prices during glut

Glad to see the Marine Resources Committee unanimously voted to delay consideration of L.D. 486 ("Panel tables bill to reorganize Lobster Council," March 27).

No one solution will solve our problems The informal online vote the Press Herald took the other day says it all, where 87 percent of the response was against an increase in the surcharge for promotion.

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