Forbes magazine and GreatSchools. org recently announced their finding that Falmouth was the No. 1 community to “live and learn” in America, citing “serious education chops, consistently outperforming state and national averages in achievement and earning the only perfect score on the educational quality index.”

According to the national accreditation committee, “The high school takes the business of preparing students very seriously.” It said that to graduate, “every student must complete 30 hours of community service and present a senior discovery portfolio including student work, a copy of a college application, a resume and copy of a current CPR card.”

These are high standards and a great achievement for every student, teacher, administrator and resident of Falmouth. The Greater Portland region should take pride in seeing Falmouth’s commitment to education being recognized at the national level.

This achievement is not only good for Falmouth, it is good for the entire region. Families across the United States started searching Falmouth online after reading that article and, in the process, no doubt began to discover all the tremendous communities and schools throughout the Casco Bay region — and maybe even began learning more about the state.

The quality of schools has a direct impact on everyone’s life. Better schools impact property values by attracting new buyers and high-income earners. This impacts the economy as professionals and business owners relocate and their families begin to shop, dine and spend.

Quality of education is also one of the most important obligations a society can meet. We must prepare our children to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. The town of Falmouth, and others in the region, will benefit from being recognized as among the best in the country at accomplishing this mission!

Chris Orestis


Every day, hundreds of young children in Portland and southern Maine struggle to complete their homework as their parents look on helplessly. It is a circumstance all too familiar in the diversifying region.

In the past two decades, Portland has seen an influx of new Asian and Somali immigrants. While English Language Learner (ELL) students are receiving assistance through the addition of 8.5 new teachers, the addition neglects to account for the majority of foreign-born individuals living in Portland: adults.

While 62 percent of individuals who learn English at age 21 or later operate below the basic level for prose literacy (National Assessment of Adult Literacy), Literacy Volunteers of Greater Portland, an agency working to combat adult illiteracy, is receiving no external grant funding during these difficult economic times.

Consider, however, that the economic costs of supporting illiterate individuals are immense for Maine in both the present and the future. These costs far outweigh the cost of preventive measures to expand existing adult literacy programs through LearningWorks and to fund additional programs.

Most individuals believe that combating illiteracy begins with improving the quality of K-12 education for ELL students. This understanding ignores the fact children’s successes are largely dependent on their support systems.

Thirty percent of students at King Middle School, for example, are foreign-born. To ensure the success of these students at home, resources must also be allocated to their parents.

Illiteracy is an impenetrable obstacle for political involvement that is a measure of inclusive citizenship. Being proficiently literate also brings about a great sense of personal pride.

In Portland, one in seven adults is considered illiterate. I hope The Press Herald will make the effort to investigate and educate readers on illiteracy.

My Tien Huynh


Thank you for your editorial “‘Three Cups of Tea’ author’s flaws don’t discredit his cause.” As one of Greg Mortenson’s strong supporters, I was very upset when I heard the accusations made by “60 Minutes.”

There may well be exaggerations and half-truths in Mortenson’s books “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools,” which I, along with many others, thoroughly enjoyed. His finances may need attention, but, as you point out, his cause of education was and is a worthy one.

He was particularly strong on education for girls. He saw that girls’ education was sorely lacking in the isolated areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He understood that educated mothers are not apt to raise terrorists. He saw a need and he championed it with energy and enthusiasm. He built schools and gave hope.

I agree with your editorial. The cause of education is indeed still a worthy one. Let’s continue to support it globally.

Josephine H. Detmer

Cumberland Foreside

Coyotes pose threat to deer — and people — across state 

I am a retired science teacher and respectfully disagree with letters published April 28 under the headline “Coyotes not to blame for deer decline.”

I grew up on the outskirts of Portland during the 1940s and 1950s. I never heard nor read about any coyotes in Maine until the mid-1960s. I did see and hear a lot about Maine’s native white-tailed deer herd, which roamed uninterrupted from Kittery to Fort Kent and from Calais to Jackman.

Deer were more numerous than black bears and moose put together. About 1970, a trickle of coyote stories started. Currently, there’s a flood of such stories about “missing” fawns, calf moose, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares, pet dogs, house cats and reintroduced Eastern turkeys.

Residents living in Arundel, Biddeford, Cape Elizabeth, Dayton, Falmouth, Gorham, Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Windham tell me in vivid detail about being awakened in their bedrooms by the loud sounds that a pack of coyotes make as they prepare to take down multiple deer at night.

What will readers think or say if a child or infant is mauled by a coyote, as has occurred in California? What will readers think or say if an adult Mainer is killed by a coyote, as happened in Nova Scotia?

My background and life experiences tell me to have confidence and trust in our professional game biologists and game wardens, not in a group that has as its basic assumption that nothing can be done or should be done.

Coyotes are an invasive and non-native species. Coyotes need to be managed and controlled. I trust Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department to do it right.

John L. Bernard



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