Learn More About the Governor’s Conference on Education

March 29, 2013

For Immediate Release: Friday, Mar. 29
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage speaks from the heart about what motivates him to seek education reform at the Governor’s Conference on Education: Putting Students First and you can now watch that video online. In the Governor’s speech, he shares with Mainers his personal story and why he is passionate about providing multiple educational opportunities for Maine students.

Governor LePage often says he would not have become a successful businessman, nor would he be Maine’s Governor, if not for the educational experiences and mentors he has met throughout his life. He firmly believes every Maine student should have the freedom to choose his or her educational path that is best for him or her.

“People say, what drives this guy? Well, I’ll tell you. There are only two things that drive me,” he said at the start of the conference. “Having every student have the best opportunity for an education, and secondly, to make Maine a very prosperous state.”

Mainers are encouraged to view the materials from the conference and the videos, which were posted today at the Governor’s Conference on Education website. You can also find the Governor’s speech on his YouTube channel.

The questions audience members submitted will be posted by the end of today at the Governor’s Conference on Education website. The Department of Education is working to answer those in the coming days.

The Department of Education will also open up a discussion forum, linked from the same website, so that Mainers may continue to discuss ideas shared at the conference and try to narrow in on some of the reforms that make the most sense for Maine, as well as talk about how to implement them.

Background: On Friday, Mar. 22, education policy leaders from around the country shared practices, models and innovative reforms with more than 200 legislators, business leaders, educators and others at Cony High School in Augusta during the Governor’s Conference on Education: Putting Students First.

Keynote speaker Dr. Tony Bennett, the recently elected commissioner of education in Florida, spoke about innovations he introduced when he was head of Indiana’s education department. Among those innovations were school performance grading, a focus on data-based teacher evaluation systems and teacher effectiveness.

Bennett followed three panel sessions. In the first, panelists advocated for giving students more pathways and choices in their pursuit of an education. They emphasized freedom in choosing schools; using virtual technology to augment classroom experience; and encouraging students to consider community college and post-secondary training in addition to the traditionally promoted four-year college.

The focus of the second session was on teacher effectiveness and quality, and the third concentrated on the initiatives that Florida has pursued to improve performance results, including rigorous academic standards, standardized measurement, data-based accountability and school choice.