For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - At a State House press conference, House and Senate Democrats today rolled out their counterproposal to the Governor's recently-implemented school grading system. After weeks of attacking the proposal without offering to contribute their own ideas, Democrats have come out with an 11th-hour plan.
"I appreciate the Democrats' attempt to finally participate in education reform, but an 11th-hour piece of draft legislation is not what Maine schools need," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "I hope that in the future, Democrats will work with Republicans to improve education instead of attacking change and then introducing a unilateral proposal at the last minute. Education should be a central issue for both Republicans and Democrats, and we'll get the best results for Maine children if we can work together."
Notably, Education Committee House Chairman Rep. Bruce MacDonald (D-Boothbay) twice refused to answer the question of how long Democrats had been working on their school grading plan. The refusal underscores the last-minute, reactionary nature of the plan, which consists in its entirety of one sentence and nine brief bullet points.
Governor LePage introduced his idea in January. The Department of Education rolled out the final product last week.
"A press conference to attack Republicans does nothing to advance education reform," said Assistant House Republican Leader Alexander Willette of Mapleton. "We welcomed their ideas all along but they stubbornly defended the status quo. It is pure political showmanship to appear at the last minute with a plan that has no substance."
Maine House Republicans
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