AUGUSTA — Members of the public have until Sept. 10 to share their views on Maine’s adoption of a new set of academic standards that more than 30 states have already embraced.

But no one has taken the opportunity to share an opinion on whether Maine should adopt the Common Core state standards.

A public hearing held Monday as part of Maine’s adoption of Common Core drew no testimony from the public. And the Maine Department of Education has received no written feedback since the comment period opened on Aug. 11.

“I think, in this case, that no response is a positive thing,” said Dan Hupp, director of state standards and assessment for the Department of Education.

The Common Core state standards outline the skills students should master in English and math from kindergarten through grade 12. Teachers, school administrators, university professors and education experts sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed them.

The Department of Education is provisionally adopting the Common Core standards. Legislators will have a chance this winter to review that decision.

If Maine ultimately adopts the national standards, Common Core will replace Maine Learning Results, the standards that took effect in 1997 and were revised in 2007. The Common Core standards would take effect during the 2012-13 academic year.

While no one from the public showed up Monday, two Department of Education staff members discussed the new standards with those in attendance: two legislative staff members, a member of Gov. John Baldacci’s staff and a reporter.

The Common Core standards shouldn’t cause radical changes for teachers in what and how they teach, Hupp said.

Teachers, however, should find the standards more specific than the Maine Learning Results since they outline skills by grade level, instead of the grade ranges used by Maine’s current standards.

Teachers should find that the Common Core standards focus on teaching fewer standards in greater depth, said Wanda Monthey, the Department of Education’s team leader for curriculum and assessment.

While no one has yet officially commented on Maine’s move to adopt the standards, not all are on board with the change.

Jim Burke, a regional mentor to western Maine school districts on integrating technology into instruction, fears the widespread adoption of Common Core could infringe on state and local control of education.

“The Common Core was not, for the most part, created by the people who are closest to kids,” he wrote in an e-mail. “They were created by testing companies, textbook publishers and university professors with the support of large corporate foundations.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was a major funder of the initiative.

The Common Core standards can be found online at Comments can be submitted by e-mail to the Department of Education at [email protected] or [email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.