Although I am vice chair of the School Administrative District 60 Board of Directors, this is my personal comment. I followed closely the release of school “grades,” your paper’s coverage of them and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen’s rebuttal (“Attack on school grading system fails to take facts into account,” May 13). Regrettably, your disparagement (“Our View: LePage’s education policy earns him an F,” May 2) is far more convincing.

Mr. Bowen appears to believe that he can simply brush away his divisiveness by pointing to unfunded initiatives on “effectiveness,” “best practices” and “red tape,” while practically ignoring the charter schools campaign he’s commanded the past two years. Well, he can’t.

Perhaps Mr. Bowen forgot how he pushes the American Legislative Exchange Counsel’s private charter agenda, which no one voted for. Perhaps he forgot the insults to our public schools, teachers, administrators and school boards made by Gov. LePage.

Perhaps he forgot that his charter legislation steals from public schools and greatly reduces the performance, hiring and review burdens on charters.

Perhaps he forgot that his administration cut school funding by curtailment while exempting charters and tried to redirect school funding to a Charter Commission legal fund.

On poverty, Mr. Bowen offers an illusion, not a plan, by selling the idea that a few outlier schools have magical practices that will erase the connection between poverty and performance. Of course, solid research tells us that reducing poverty in Maine would bring results immediately. But that reality does not sit with his and ALEC’s radical privatization agenda.

When Mr. Bowen was nominated for this key office, I opined in this paper (“Another View: Bowen lacks basic experience to lead Education Department,” March 14, 2011) that he was a weak candidate.

After two years in office, he now owns the school performance that he and Gov. LePage rage about, and yet he has nothing to offer but division and distraction. He was the wrong man then for this job, and he’s still the wrong man.

David Lentini is a resident of North Berwick.


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