Governor Outlines Proposed Adjustments to Learning Results
April 4, 2005
AUGUSTA – Governor John Baldacci was joined by Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron today to unveil details of proposed modifications to the timeliness and structures for implementation of Maine’s Learning Results. Governor Baldacci focused on the impact on teachers of the intense efforts to raise achievement for all Maine students, noting that comprehensive educational reform is complex and time-consuming work.
“Student learning is a direct result of interaction between teacher and student,” said the Governor. “Students need to be given the time to learn and teachers the time to teach. That’s why we are suggesting this bold new initiative to improve Maine’s public schools. While we have some of the best teachers, the best students and the best public schools in the country, we must take these necessary steps in order to maintain the high quality of our public schools. Our economic, social and cultural foundations for the future of Maine are in our schools.”
In addition to modifications in Learning Results, the Governor announced the following initiatives:
- Establish a “Public Education Practitioners Board” co-chaired by First Lady Karen Baldacci and Commissioner Gendron. The Public Education Practitioners’ Board will provide an educators’ perspective and a sounding board from actual classroom and school building level front line people regarding the impact of school reform initiatives on teaching practicebefore such reform initiatives are considered for approval by the State.
- Re-direct funding to assist teachers in the development and administration of targeted local assessment funds and to improve their instructional practice. The designated funding of $17 million is part of the Essential Programs and Services School Funding Model, and would build a collaborative process between administrators and teachers.
- Commit to prepare for the Second Session of the 122 nd Legislature. The Governor is requesting that LD 1381 be held over and in the interim direct Commissioner Gendron to present an implementation plan to correct Maine’s standing on teacher pay and to aid in recruitment and retention. Currently, the average teachers’ salary in Maine ranks as the lowest in New England, while the average beginning teachers’ salary in our state ranks 47 th in the United States.
The proposed improvements and adjustments to Learning Results were presented with the following assumptions in mind:
- That the basic purposes for educational reform in Maine—to ensure that upon graduation all Maine students are effectively prepared for college, work, and citizenship—are today more compelling than in 1996 when the Learning Results were enacted.
- That Learning Results implementation, in many districts, is producing significantly richer and more effective conversations about teaching and learning, which is in turn leading to improved student learning. In these districts the development of the Local Assessment System (LAS) has been integrated into existing, connected systems of curriculum, instruction, professional development, and student academic support.
- That above all, we must be certain that students are not harmed during the development phase of systems to measure achievement of the standards.
- That modifications are being proposed at this time to permit more consistent and improvement in student learning in all Maine schools and districts. The goals of the modifications will be to stress quality over quantity; to pace the work in the hope of building systems that are truly effective and comparable across Maine.
Commissioner Gendron summarized the proposed modifications to Learning Results, many of which will require changes to Maine statute and regulations:
- Modify the graduation expectation for 2007-08 through the creation of the “Learning Results Credit” (LRC). For English Language Arts and Mathematics only, school administrative units will administer and collect a reduced number of assessments as defined by an updated version of the LAS Guide in combination with other evidence of student achievement. The LRC, which combines features of the existing credit-based approach with the Local Assessment System basis, will permit all districts across Maine to continue the development of comprehensive standards-based systems and continue to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment with the standards.
- Use the “Learning Results Credit” as the basis for meeting standards for diploma purposes in Science, Social Studies, Health/Physical Education beginning in 2009-10, and in Modern and Classical Languages and Visual and Performing Arts beginning in 2010-11.
- Limit the Local Assessment System to English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades PK-8, but continue to collect school level data in Science, Social Studies, and Health/Physical Education in grades 3-8.
- Clarify that decisions about high school diplomas for students with disabilities will be informed more strongly by a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
- Direct the Department of Education to develop guidelines and procedures for State validation of school district Local Assessment Systems and Comprehensive Education Plans.
- Broaden the basis for the Department to provide technical assistance to school districts to support the development of not only Local Assessment Systems, but the comprehensive school improvement systems necessary to make assessments truly effective. This will necessitate significant re-alignment of Department human and fiscal resources to maximize capacity for providing assistance to local districts. The Department will also redouble efforts to partner with statewide and regional professional development and technical assistance service providers to mobilize all available resources in support of effective implementation.
In addition to the above modifications to statute and regulation, the Department will also be engaged in a broader review of other aspects of the implementation of the system of Learning Results including:
- Evaluating a redesign the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) to measure and report progress on a smaller subset of performance indicators to provide greater predictability and focus for teachers and students.
- Monitoring emerging federal accountability requirements, particularly at the high school level, to ensure that Maine’s overall testing program avoids duplication.
- Conducting a broad-based and comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of the implementation of Maine’s Learning Results, involving all the key advisory committees (Policy and Technical Advisory Committees, the Learning Results Steering Committee, the State Board of Education, Education Committee leadership, and other stakeholder groups) for the purpose of identifying further actions and implementation supports to address current challenges and capacity issues, to be completed by August 1, 2005.
These proposals will be presented to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5. Governor Baldacci and Commissioner Gendron expressed the hope that the numerous bills related to the Learning Results and the Local Assessment Systems will be considered in the light of the recommendations.
Governor Baldacci also noted that the recommended modifications represent a consensus set of ideas shared by associations representing teachers and school administrators. Over the past several weeks, discussions have been ongoing to ensure that a broad base of agreement is present at this stage of the process.
System of Learning Results Evaluation - Graphic Organizer
Informational Letter #66 - Update on the Local Assessment System (LAS) and Proposed Measures for Addressing Current Development Issues
Education Week Article - Economic Imperative
Learning Results Historical Milestones and Policy Issues
Local Assessment System Milestones and Definitions
For more information about these initiatives, visit the Department of Education’s web site:
Proposed Rule Changes
Lynn Kippax, 207-287-2531
Education Commissioner Susan Gendron, 207-624-6620