Jim Fossel’s July 16 column on Maine schools (“For better Maine schools, it’s not all about the money”) did not read like it was about them at all.

I am a retired teacher and this is the fourth state I have lived in, so although I didn’t teach here, I do take more than a passing interest in the schools Maine children attend.

I have never seen more local control over the school districts than I’ve seen here. Maine is a huge state with rural schools that do a pretty good job of getting their students ready to learn. The facilities are old, so they need money for upkeep, repair or replacement, in some cases, in order to remain safe havens for learning.

The thought of unqualified teachers being in the classroom is a travesty – if that is what Fossel meant when he implied that there’s too much regulation of education here. Good teachers make learning happen, and that is not by chance: Education, experience and dedication need to be compensated for.

Consolidation may work in some cases in Maine if the districts can remain in local hands, while using state and federal money for curriculum assistance, so education is of high quality throughout the state.

For-profit schools are not the panacea. Though some inner-city schools have done well with an infusion of money at their onset, most are not consistent in their accomplishments over time.

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