Entries Filed in 'Education'

Maine’s recent school funding cuts among the worst nationwide

October 20th, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Education

Maine cuts to school funding since the start of the recession are among the highest in the nation, and the deepest in New England, according to a new study released today.

The report by the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Most States Still Funding Schools Less than before the Recession, found that Maine has cut investment in K-12 schools by 13.3 percent since 2008, a deeper cut than 38 other states. During the Recession Maine was forced to make the cuts but while other states have recovered and are back to funding education Maine continues to make cuts. Gov. LePage’s revenue sharing cuts to towns have made cities across the state slash education funding further.

“The school department budget has literally been frozen, after you factor inflation for the last 5 years. That is not sustainable if we are going to be able to continue to provide the almost 4,000 Bangor students with a high quality education to prepare them for the jobs and the technologies of the future,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.

Among New England states, Maine has cut per capita student spending by $736 since 2008, while Vermont per student spending is $7 below pre-recession levels and the other four states have all increased spending.

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Request your Maine absentee ballot online

August 5th, 2014 · No Comments · Education

Maine military serving overseas? Traveling or homebound on November 4th? Whatever your reason to vote early, you can request your absentee ballot as of today at this link HERE.

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Harsh reaction from LePage’s new school ‘grading system’

May 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Education

Maine’s new grades for public schools was issued by the Maine Department of Education under the direction of Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday and had apparent flaws in what and how they measured student progress.

“Gov. LePage created his grades without input from teachers, principals, superintendents or school boards and based them too heavily on standardized tests, which is the wrong approach. His actions hurt our schools and the communities they serve,” said Congressman Mike Michaud. “We can make our schools better by working together, allowing teachers to teach and by ending the name-calling. We can do better.”

The grades were made available to schools on Tuesday, but weren’t released publicly until today.

“Every Maine student deserves access to a high quality, public education. But we don’t get there by attacking teachers, superintendents and schools,” said Congressman Mike Michaud.

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Bigelow Laboratory’s high school program marks 25th year

May 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Education, Science

Sixteen high school students from across Maine will begin a weeklong residential program at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay on Sunday, May 18. The high school juniors will work side-by-side with marine scientists to learn about ocean issues and see what it is like to have a career as a research scientist.

“Keller BLOOM is one great way for Maine’s youth to learn science while having a phenomenal experience.” says Dr. Thomas E. Keller, Co-Director, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance and MMSA’s STEM Guides project, Executive Director, Maine STEM Council. “For many of the 400 Maine high school students who attend this unique, annual event, it has been a life-altering experience.”

This cohort marks the 25th annual Keller BLOOM (Bigelow Laboratory Orders of Magnitude Program), where students work with scientist mentors, collecting samples, conducting laboratory experiments, analyzing data, and presenting their scientific findings. Parents, elected officials, and members of the media are invited to attend this year’s presentation at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 22 at the Laboratory.

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Maine’s first-in-nation bill to help foster children finish college, heads to governor’s desk

April 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, Education

 Maine is on its way to becoming the first state in the nation to support foster children with higher education through the age of 26.

The Legislature on Thursday passed LD 1683, Resolve, To Improve Degree and Career Attainment for Former Foster Children, as the Senate gave the measure its final approval. It now goes to Gov. Paul LePage for his signature.

Sponsored by House Majority Leader Seth Berry , the bill would allow former foster children to receive guidance and financial help with higher education expenses averaging $5,000 a year until their 27th birthdays. At present, Maine provides no support or guidance beyond age 20. The bill leverages one private foundation dollar for every two public dollars and would support up to 40 young Mainers at a given time.

“Morally and economically, it makes sense to help these young Mainers complete their education,” Berry said. “Even with the best of childhoods, how many of us were fully independent at age 20? How many of us would cut off our own kids once they turn 20?”

Youth in care often have multiple foster care placements that contribute to gaps in their educations. It is not unusual for youth in care to start college after age 18, and only 2 percent to on to receive a four-year degree.

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Pre-kindergarten bill to expand early childhood education makes it through Maine House

April 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Creative Economy, Education

LD 1530, An Act To Establish a Process for the Implementation of Universal Voluntary Prekindergarten Education, was enacted unanimously “under the hammer” in the Maine House of Representatives’ Tuesday. Last week, it won initial approval with a veto-proof vote of 102-45.

“Smart investment in the earliest years of childhood is one of the best things we can do for young Mainers to boost their chances of success,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry, a bill co-sponsor who was an award-winning public school teacher. “Educators and leaders in business and law enforcement recognize these efforts as important to children and the state as a whole.”

The measure makes casino revenues available as start-up funding to school districts that choose to offer voluntary pre-K programs. The bill also establishes a stakeholder group to develop quality standards, best practices and common assessments.

There are 172 school districts in Maine with elementary schools, but only 60 percent of them offer some kind of pre-K. Under the measure, the implementation of pre-K programs would be voluntary for school districts and participation would be voluntary for families.

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Maine Arts Education Day at the Capitol a success

April 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Capitol news, Community Maine, Education, Issue 40, Uncategorized

Student representatives of the National Art Honor Society at Mount Desert Island High School

Student representatives of the National Art Honor Society at Mount Desert Island High School

Arts Education Day, held at the state capital on April 2, 2014 by the Maine Alliance for Arts and Education (MAAE), was well attended success for arts education.

The event was organized by MAAE’s Executive Director, Peter Alexander, to show appreciation for art educators and to bring attention to the importance of supporting the arts in Maine school systems.

Representative Mary Nelson announced the Joint Resolution commemorating Arts Education Day and honored awardees.

“This morning we declared that Wednesday, April 2nd is Arts Education Day for the state of Maine and we are here to honor several arts educators,” said Nelson. “Arts educators work everyday to deal with our students to help them use all sides of their brain.”

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First Lady to host 3rd recipe challenge for kids with White House dinner

March 27th, 2014 · No Comments · Education, Healthy Lifestyles, News from Washington

 

First Lady Michelle Obama, for the third time, is teaming up with Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host a nationwide recipe challenge to promote cooking and healthy eating among America’s youth.

 “The Kids’ ‘State Dinner’ is one of my favorite events to host at the White House, and I am thrilled to announce the third annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.  This event gives us the opportunity to showcase healthy creations from talented kids from across our country,” said the First Lady.  “I’m looking forward to seeing—and tasting—this year’s selections.  So young chefs, get creative and get cooking!”

Teaching kids to cook is a great way to ensure our children learn healthy habits early in life.  Research shows that children who help with cooking and meal preparation are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables, and they are more aware of the importance of making healthier food choices.  The third annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” encourages kids across the country to come up with healthy, original creations.

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Maine’s ocean acidification bill wins initial House support

March 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Economy, Education, Environment

A proposal to address how changing ocean chemistry can damage Maine’s coast, shellfish industry and jobs won initial support by unanimous consent in the House Monday.

L.D. 1602, a measure sponsored by Rep. Mick Devin, would establish a commission to study the effects of ocean acidification and its potential effects on commercial shellfish harvested along the Maine coast.

“Our entire state depends on the well-being of our coastal habitats,” said Devin, a marine biologist. “If we don’t address the effects of changing ocean chemistry, thousands of jobs and the entire coastal economy could be at risk.”

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Maine robotics announces summer opportunity for kids

March 13th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Education, Science

Maine Robotics is now offering a new summer week-long program called BUILD YOUR OWN COMPUTER CAMP and will be offered on the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland and also at the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor.

This brand new program will work with students, ages 12 to 16, who want to learn about how a computer is put together, configured, and learning about basic troubleshooting tasks. Each student will be using surplus PC components but will be building a very capable Dell Optiplex desktop computer, including LCD screen, and will be taking the entire computer home at the end of the week. Each computer will end up with the Linux operating system or students can bring in their own copy of Windows to install on the computers.

“We live in a time when computers are everywhere, but we don’t always take the time to teach the next generation how to actually build the things” according to Tom Bickford, Maine Robotics Director. “We are happy to have the space this year on the Portland USM campus and at the Maine Discovery Museum, and we are expecting the program to be well received”.

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