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The research on educational practice is conclusive in at least one area.
Study after study shows that the most important thing a school system can do to advance student learning is to put an effective teacher in the classroom. Students who are assigned to effective teachers make noticeably more academic progress than those who are not.
The Maine Department of Education is pursuing a number of initiatives focused on cultivating an effective and continuously improving teaching corps.
- Ensuring Effective Teaching and School Leadership. Gov. Paul LePage has proposed legislation to strengthen Maine's teacher preparation process and help school districts implement educator evaluations that are fair and help teachers and administrators continue to improve.
- Maine Schools for Excellence. The teachers at 18 schools in five Maine districts are participating in this five-year, grant-funded project that ties together intensive professional development, meaningful performance evaluations designed largely by teachers, incentives and stipends to reward educators for improved student performance, and performance-based pay systems -- also designed largely by teachers.
- Legislative Action. The Maine Legislature in 2010 formed a task force to vet teacher and principal evaluation methods that take student achievement data into account. A year later, the Legislature passed a law to allow Maine school districts to develop and adopt such evaluation instruments on their own.
- Recognizing Maine's Effective Educators. Maine's schools employ thousands of teachers and administrators who are standouts in their fields. The Maine Department of Education either runs or is involved in a number of programs that recognize their outstanding work with students.