October 29, 2010

Gubernatorial candidates address education

- Libby Mitchell on

Education

 

Do you support creating a charter school system in Maine?

 

No. Unbiased data shows that charter schools produce mixed results for students. They do however, take money out of our public schools at a time when we cannot afford it. I support taking the aspects of charter schools that work and incorporating them into our public schools so every Maine student benefits without depriving some of the resources they need.

 

Do you support initiating a system of merit pay for public school teachers?

 

I voted to repeal the law that prohibited student performance from being used to determine teacher compensation. I would support a system developed by parents, teachers and administrators that utilizes multiple factors to determine teacher performance.

 

Do you support further administrative reductions in the K-12 public education system?

 

While consolidation has not worked everywhere, it did address a real problem: too many administrators and too few teachers. The state should provide the appropriate level of funding for administration in each district. If a district wants to exceed that amount it would be their responsibility to fund it. While we must continue to streamline administration, it is time to change the conversation back to what is best for the education of our kids instead of the number of principles, superintendents and districts.

 

Should Maine create statewide standards for special education programs?

 

We must be fair to special education students and their families. We should have a standard that is consistent and fair. Not to meet some arbitrary quota or to save money, but so that parents and students have the same consistent access to quality education.

 

Do you believe the state should reach 55 percent in GPA funding? If yes, how long expect to get there and if no, what's the appropriate level of state funding?

 

Achieving 55% funding for education is the goal, but the reality is that with the economic downturn we are not going to get there this year. The state has rapidly increased education funding over the past five years and we should continue to do so until we reach 55 percent.

 

Is Maine's current per pupil spending too much, too little or just the right amount?

 

Outcomes are more important than per pupil spending. Maine's kids test higher than the national average, but we cannot be satisfied with that. We need to continue to improve the education our kids receive. We can reduce our per pupil spending by continuing to streamline backroom operations.

 

Do you support collecting students' Social Security Numbers to help develop Maine's longitudinal data system?

 

No. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our state and I would be hesitant about creating another reservoir of information for identity thieves. We must balance the need for accurate data with the privacy rights of our students.

 

Should there be consolidation between the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System? What do you think it should be?

 

No. The university and the community colleges have two distinct missions and we should not dilute their effectiveness by consolidation. The two systems should look at what backroom functions can be combined (retirement accounts, bulk purchasing, etc) in an effort to become more lean but they should not do so at the expense of those seeking degrees. They should also coordinate more closely to ensure that students moving between the systems can do so seamlessly.

 

 

 

 

Paul LePage on Education

 

Do you support creating a charter school system in Maine?

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Shawn Moody,  Eliot Cutler, Paul LePage, Kevin Scott, Libby Mitchell
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AP

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