Education groups push back against governor

7:54 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Governor Paul LePage's plans to reform schools are getting a cool reception from leaders of Maine's top education groups.

In his State of the State address Tuesday night, LePage said Maine's public schools are not making the grade. He criticized schools for not raising their test scores in recent years, for too many high school dropouts and even too many administrators.

Leaders of the Maine Education Association -the teachers' union-and the Maine School management Association, which represents superintendents and school boards, say the Governor got it wrong. They say many Maine schools are doing well, and that some of the Governor's statistics were inaccurate.

Connie Brown of the Maine School Management Association says the most recent testing shows Maine students performing in the 70th percentile, much higher than the result she says were listed by the Governor.

The Legislature will be debating a number of proposals from the Governor, including one for statewide school choice. That idea was defeated last year by a Republican legislature, but the Governor says he's bringing it back.

The Governor's office also says he will submit a bill to require high schools to pay for the cost of remedial courses for their graduates who want to attend Maine colleges. The need for those remedial courses has been a frequent point of criticism by the Governor.

Two proposals that won't need Legislative approval: a report card on the performance of each Maine school. Those reports will be done by the stat6e Department of Education. And the Governor will hold an education reform conference in March, inviting what he says will be education experts from around the country.


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