Re: “More students opt for Portland High over Deering, perceiving safety issues” (Aug. 3):

I’d like to suggest that the far greater safety concern is poor academic results. According to the Press Herald article, only 52 percent of Deering students, 60 percent of Portland students and 50 percent of high school students statewide were at or above state minimum expectations on English language arts assessments. Math results were even worse, with a paltry 31 percent of Deering, 38 percent of Portland and 37 percent of Maine students at or above minimum expectations.

These results bode poorly for most students’ educational achievement beyond high school and, therefore, Maine’s ability to provide a competitive workforce capable of meeting employers’ increasing requirements. This directly and adversely impacts our collective financial sustainability and quality of life.

In my humble opinion, the implications of such poor academic achievement are where our focus and energy would be best placed.

Steve Mortimer


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