For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage and Department of Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen unveiled a simple, yet comprehensive system for inspiring school improvement and empowering parental involvement in public education. The program grades Maine schools on an A-F scale in Republicans' latest effort to implement real education reform to put students first.
"I'm starting to wonder if the Democrats are even reading the education reform proposals anymore, or if they're simply saying 'no,'" said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "If you don't like the solutions, then fine, propose your own. I haven't seen any ideas from Democrats on how to improve education for Maine children."
Fredette spoke at the press conference unveiling the grading system. Democrats object that the grading system "shames" Maine schools and potentially drives down property values.
"Democrats are fine with grading students, but when it comes to our schools, they want a pass-fail system where everyone passes," said Assistant House Republican Leader Alexander Willette of Mapleton. "Their number one constituency isn't the students, it's the teachers' union."
Fredette also pointed out that poor schools already drive down property values, and the new ranking system gives them an objective measure upon which they can work to improve.
The new school grading system enjoys wide support among House Republicans, who see it as a commonsense measure to give parents and school administrators a reliable tool to be able to improve schools and set goals.
"When I was in the military, we graded units on their combat effectiveness on a scale of 1-4," said Rep. Peter Johnson, ranking Republican on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. "Nobody liked getting a bad grade, but they worked to improve it because nobody wanted to be unprepared for combat. This is about helping Maine schools so that our kids will be ready for college or a career."
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793