AUGUSTA – Maine Gov. Paul LePage, in his second state of the state address, continued to target the Maine public education system. His speech to the legislature, and the state, lasted more than an hour, but one of the most memorable moments came when he suggested it was time for the state to start rating its schools.
“It’s high time the students know, and the parents know how the students are doing in the schools,” he said. “Public schools, no matter what we say, are not getting the job done.”
However, LePage continued to praise the work being done by the state’s charter schools and again called for lawmakers to allow more school choice.
“If you believe the status quo is working, you are part of the problem,” LePage said. “You are not part of the solution.”
Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, said he needed more details on the grading system proposal to comment, but Jackson feared negative effects on rural schools.
“I’m very concerned about this ranking, how it’s going to work and what it’s going to do the underserved children,” he said. “Are they going to be asked to leave the school so they can get their ranking up? I feel all kids deserve an education, even the ones that don’t perform as well.”
Lepage went on to praise the state’s 10 town academies and the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, but overall he continued to say the state’s public schools are not doing their jobs.
“Far too many of our graduates are unprepared for higher education or the workforce,” LePage said. “50 percent of the of the kids who graduate from high school and then go on to a community college need to take remedial courses.”