Supporting early education

We all want to be able to educate our youngest children and give them the strongest possible start. Right now, thanks to the sponsorship of Sen. Eloise Vitelli, the Legislature is considering a bill (LD 1799) that would establish a timeline, an implementation plan and incentives to expand publicly funded preschool programming, with the goal of establishing an equitable, mixed delivery public pre-K system, (similar to the one we have in RSU1) that provides universal access for all 4-year-old children and their families.

With this bill, Maine parents would have more full-day pre-K options, something working families need. Our state has made steady progress on public pre-K expansion over the past decade, reaching 50% enrollment for the first time ever. Now it’s time to strengthen a mixed delivery system of public and private options that ensures parent choice, expands pre-K to a full school day to better match the needs of working parents, and aligns professional development and career pathways for all early educators.

When quality pre-K is available to children, they are more likely to arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, with fewer behavioral challenges. The current Maine cohort of 4-year-olds has lived most of their lives during the pandemic and will benefit especially from the social experiences of being part of a pre-K class.

Maine families are asking for affordable, high-quality education and care for their young children in every corner of the state. We must support legislation like this that will build toward ensuring all Maine 4-year-old children can access high-quality early childhood experiences and ensure our children have strong early learning environments that will prepare them for school.

Margaret Leitch Copeland,


Why electrify?Congratulations Brunswick Town Council (“New Brunswick apartment complex branded as town’s most eco-friendly,” May 9) on working with Katahdin Property Management and Efficiency Maine to design an eco-friendly apartment complex.

“The 63-unit building … will have advanced heat pumps, 8 electric-vehicle chargers in the underground parking and possibly solar panels.” All parking spaces will be wired for the future installation of electric vehicle chargers. As Sally Costello, Brunswick’s director of economic and community development said, “It’s a prototype for the kind of housing we want to see here.”Why do we want to electrify buildings and transportation? So that we can wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and prevent the most disastrous impacts of a warming planet. Burning gas and oil to generate electricity, heat buildings and drive cars is warming the planet and exacerbated the storm that dumped 5-6 inches of rain on Maine two weeks ago. That’s the kind of storm that we’ll see more frequently as global temperatures continue to climb.If we electrify transportation and buildings and if we then generate electricity using wind, sun and hydro power, we will move towards the target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to cut the use of fossil fuels by two-thirds by 2035, and altogether by 2040.This is the future: electric cars, heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and all electric household appliances. You can start now by contacting Efficiency Maine and learning about incentives offered by the state of Maine. Then check out to find out what tax rebates and subsidies you qualify for from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Dorothy Jones,

Aquaculture partnerships

Kudos to the city of Bath and Matt Nixon of Muddy River Farm Aquaponics for their new partnership and innovative venture. The creation of the world’s first 3D-printed, closed-loop oyster-farming tank made from sustainable materials is great for the region and showcases innovation shaping the industry’s future. It also helps Maine open doors to exciting and challenging future careers in a new technology and will expand the workforce opportunities we can market to young people and use to draw in new talent.Combining innovation, science, technology, and entrepreneurship in emerging fields like aquaculture is something EDUCATE MAINE cultivates across our programs. We foster industry growth by supporting and connecting young talent to opportunities in new and exciting industries here in Maine.Last year, in partnership with FocusMaine, we launched Aquaculture Pioneers, which connects aquaculture farms and hatcheries with summer interns across the Downeast, Midcoast and Southern Coastal regions. Employers who host an Aquaculture Pioneer become partner employers of Maine Career Catalyst, giving them access to both program support and a community of like-minded employers interested in elevating experiential learning for students. At the same time, the students are part of an MCC cohort focused on building career skills and their network across the industry.Soon, we will be expanding Aquaculture Pioneers to certify it as a pre-apprenticeship program, which is yet another pathway for students to explore and expand their career options. The program, aligned with the Maine DOL standards, creates a direct pathway from our Pioneers program into registered apprenticeships where they can continue their hands-on, experiential learning journey while working toward a certificate of value. These types of programs and partnerships are a boon to industry leaders like Muddy Rivers Farm and to its future workforce.Thank you for highlighting this strong partnership.Kate Howell.Director of Workforce Partnerships atEducate Maine | Maine Career Catalyst