Prioritizing education = equitable, adequate schools

I read with dismay Jake Bleiberg’s June 24th story in the Bangor Daily News about the poor condition of four of Portland’s elementary schools – Presumpscot, Longfellow, Reiche and Lyseth – and about unsuccessful efforts dating back two decades to have the schools renovated. The article describes some serious problems – no space for Special […]

Vote today for the legislator who will fight for equitable education in Maine

Today is election day in Maine. When you vote – as I urge you to do – choose the candidate who understands the importance of fighting to create an equitable, outstanding education system for all Mainers. Our economy and the health of our state depend on a universally well-educated electorate. We should not continue to […]

Maine’s first public language immersion program

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I spent the morning of May 4th at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland to see Maine’s first public language immersion program in action. I came away immensely impressed. I observed a math class where students in first grade were communicating enthusiastically about geometry in Spanish; I watched a kindergarten class where students were happily talking […]

For the health of our state we need to turn the page on cultural insensitivity

The insensitivity toward cultures other than his own demonstrated by Governor Le Page’s February 11th ‘joke’ at the expense of a Chinese man and name perfectly illustrates the need for more World Language and Global Education in Maine. To begin with, in an era when the demographics and economy of the state are changing, and […]

Guide to a cheaper fix for schools

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Roland Barth, leading writer on education, suggests that a key ingredient to improving schools is regular, school-focused, honest, mutually respectful conversation between the adults who work in them. Compared to the millions we have spent in this country in the past decade on much more complicated ‘fixes’ (and that have seen dubious success -and that’s […]

Maine’s graduates need to be able to compete on the world stage

Apparently many school districts in Maine are urging that the state drop the World Language graduation requirement of Maine’s LD1422, An Act To Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy, because of the cost of implementation. I believe it is important that we both keep and strengthen this graduation requirement. In a world where the norm among […]

Choosing the path to greater student achievement in Maine

The performance of Maine students on the Smarter Balanced test administered in all schools last spring was mediocre at best in relation to the twelve other states that have released scores at this point. Bangor Daily news reporter Matthew Stone rightly wonders if Mainers should be concerned about this result. I think we should be very […]

Inequitable schooling is cheating our children and our nation

What a child experiences in school over thirteen or fourteen years contributes mightily to the development of that child, and currently American children experience very different things depending on the relative wealth of their neighborhoods. Curriculum matters. A curriculum rich in the arts, music, and foreign languages strengthens and develops the brain. Wealthy parents, because of what most […]

We should not rob our schools of our most creative teachers

We are driving excellent teachers out of the profession with our insistence on measurement and standardized systems of accountability. People who became teachers because they were fascinated by the developing human mind, attracted by the chance to help children reach their potential, engaged by the challenge of fashioning learning experiences that would help children grow […]