February 6, 2013

LePage's education proposal called 'simplistic'

The A-to-F system is the latest education initiative launched by a governor critical of public schools.

By Noel K. Gallagher ngallagher@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

Gov. Paul LePage gestures while giving the State of the State address on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 at the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

"If it's something to improve and support students and schools, then I'm for it all the way," McClellan said. "But it's complicated."

Sen. Brian Langley, R-Hancock, said a letter grade on a school would have a ripple effect, particularly since residents and businesses looking to relocate consider the quality of local schools when making a decision.

"It opens up a discussion because when someone is going to come move to Maine, the schools are one of the things they are looking at," Langley said. "How do we currently answer that question?"

Many real estate companies and outside groups like to rate schools, or put a letter grade on a school, but people are unclear about how they get their results, Connerty-Marin said. That uncertainly is one of the reasons the administration wants its own ranked system.

But a grade could just serve to "shame" a school or the students in it, said Rob Walker, the executive director of the Maine Education Association, which represents teachers.

"We know where the problems are and we should focus on improving schools," Walker said. "We shouldn't rely on the latest gimmick to further stigmatize our kids."

Maine School Management Association Director Connie Brown criticized the plan and questioned the point of assigning a grade.

"Is this to embarrass the schools?" she asked. "I don't see any good coming out of this and I don't see how this is going to help schools."


Staff Writer Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:



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