Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help

Maine is a Great Place for Families and Children

The work of the Children’s Cabinet is ultimately dedicated to maintain the quality life we currently enjoy in Maine, and to capitalize on our strengths and caring for kids to make Maine an even better place for its children. For example:

Maine was rated No. 1 in the nation–the highest performing K-12 education system–by the National Education Goals Panel (1999), an independent, bipartisan agency of state and federal officials charged with measuring goals for student readiness, student achievement, educational attainment, and school climate. The 1999 report, issued on the tenth anniversary of the Charlottesville, VA, gathering of America’s governors and then-President Bush, ranked Maine a high performing state across the eight goals after examining the state’s performance on a host of indicators.

Maine was rated No. 1 in the nation–the best state in which to raise a child–according to a July, 1999 report released by the Children’s Rights Council, a Washington, D.C. based national advocacy group. The latest recognition of Maine’s good work on behalf of children has received widespread coverage by the nation’s television, radio, and newspaper media, including USA Today, MSNBC, Today Show, and ABC Nightly News.[http://www.vix.com/crc/bestStates.html]

Maine is receiving national acclaim for our first-in-the-country focus on reforming our high schools (Promising Futures report, 1998), and is now engaged in a similar groundbreaking effort to address student behavior and ethics (report due October 2000).

A 1997 study by Forbes Magazine revealed that, in a nationwide comparison of the states, Maine gets the "biggest bang for its education buck." Per pupil spending in Maine is near the national average while its students have the highest composite scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Average investment and top performance–not a bad scorecard!

Only students in Singapore outperformed Maine eighth graders in Science in comparisons with the 41 countries participating in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS - 1998).

Only seven countries outperformed Maine eighth graders in Mathematics in comparisons with the 41 countries participating in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS - 1998).

Maine eighth graders placed first in the nation in Reading, and Maine fourth graders placed fourth in the nation in Reading on the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test results.

Maine eighth graders placed second, along with Massachusetts, in Writing on the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Maine eighth graders placed first in the nation in Science on the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Maine fourth graders placed first in the nation, along with Minnesota and Connecticut, in Mathematics on the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Eighth graders also placed first in the nation, along with North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, and Iowa, in Mathematics on the 1996 test.

Maine fourth graders placed first in the nation in Reading and Mathematics on the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Fourth graders were first in Mathematics and second in Reading on the 1992 test.

Maine placed at the top of Education Week’s rankings among the states in the quality of school climate (1998). Characteristics that contributed to this ranking were:

v      Small class size prevails.

v      Parent involvement is strong.

v      Student engagement is high.

v      Local autonomy exists.

In 1997, Maine had the best ranking in infant mortality rates with a low of 3.7 per 1,000 births compared to the national average of 7.1 per 1,000 births. This unusually low mortality rate is one indicator that Maine has in place many practices that give children a healthy start on life.

Maine’s childhood immunization rate of 90% is the highest of any state in the country–the highest level ever recorded in the United States. This public health practice adds significantly to the well-being of Maine children.

Maine doubled its child support collections over the last 4 years, making it one of the most efficient state agencies in collecting funds on behalf of custodial parents in the nation.

Maine ranked second in the composite data for the 1997 Kids Count indicators that assess trends in children’s scholastic achievement, mental and physical well-being, and economic status.

In 1997, Maine’s teen pregnancy rates were the third lowest in the country.

Maine has a single regulatory system for child care, enabling Maine to become on of the first states in the country to have achieved this public policy goal.

Maine has achieved the highest level of adoptions ever achieved in the history of DHS, for a total of 468 in the year 2000. This spectacular achievement earned the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Adoption Award form Secretary Donna Shalala. Unquestionably, one of the highest achievements in human services anywhere in the U.S!

Maine high school students rank highest in HIV / AIDS knowledge among states that have participated in the Center for Disease Control’s intensive evaluation project.

Maine ranks second, along with Utah, in the percent of education dollars that are spent directly to support instruction, a remarkable fact given Maine’s high cost for transportation and facilities due to its rural geography.

Maine consistently ranks among the top ten states in the country in high school completion and low drop-out rates.

68% of Maine’s graduating seniors took the College Board’s SAT in 1998, compared to a national participation rate of 43%. Maine’s participation rate is up from 64% in 1993 and 59% in 1988.

Maine has successfully connected all of its public schools and public access libraries to the Internet. To the best of our knowledge, Maine was the first state in the nation to accomplish this extraordinary initiative. All schools and libraries connected to the Maine School Library Network receive unlimited Internet access at no cost.

An advanced interactive television system (ATM) is currently being piloted in the State of Maine and is arguably the most advanced interactive video, voice, and data technology available. The proceeds from a statewide bond will allow Maine to place the technology in studios in every high school in Maine!