Declining education scores forces LePage administration to set new agenda

Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012 in News

Declining education scores forces LePage administration to set new agenda

AUGUSTA -- Following a report released by Harvard University's Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG), Governor Paul LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen were scheduled to hold a news conference in Augusta on Wednesday, July 25, to explain how the administration would address the issues.


The PEPG report, an analysis of growth trends of student performance in math, reading, and science, ranked Maine 40th out of the 41 participating American states. The study examined test scores from one U.S. series of tests and three series of tests administered by international organizations given to fourth and eighth grade students across the country.

In 1992, Maine was ranked 3rd in the nation in overall test scores, but has fallen nine places since then, as funding for Maine schools has also fallen. Maine is currently ranked 12th in overall test scores - the lowest of the participating New England states.

"This report reaffirms what we already know: that the status quo in Maine is not working," said Governor LePage. "Our educational system has neglected to put its students first, and has therefore failed them. We have a lot of work to do to rejuvenate our academic performance."

LePage has said that he puts schools first, however, in real dollars, educational funding has declined during his tenure.  During the 125th Legislature, LePage led the initiative to allow charter schools in Maine for the first time, and the funding for those schools will also come from public school coffers. LePage introduced a series of reforms to improve Career and Technical Education in Maine.

Commissioner Stephen Bowen created comprehensive legislation addressing educator effectiveness, making sure Maine's educators are evaluated regularly, given the training and support they need to improve, and are held accountable for student achievement and growth. "We have come to a pivotal moment for the future of Maine's educational system. We have proof that past methods have not been effective. We now have a chance to change our educational system for the better," said Commissioner Bowen.

For the full findings of the PEPG report, click [here](http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/Papers/PEPG12-03_CatchingUp.pdf)

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