Republican candidate Paul LePage, the only candidate who wouldn't offer an interview for this article, said in a statement released by his campaign that education policy is best left up to local school boards.
"The Race to the Top funding is not about educating kids, it is about the federal government running the education system," the statement said. "We need to be careful about accepting federal money with strings attached."
So, no interview but he did write back with a no answer statement to sweeten up his tea party. The non-answer is pretty much reality: Paul LePage has no answer or vision for education in Maine. Here is the sum total on the issue directly from his website:
The challenge for Maine with our educational system is our return on investment. Maine is in the top third of all our states in education spending, yet we are in the bottom third in results. As Governor, it will be my priority to reform Maine's educational system so that students have the opportunity to create results that correspond with our significant investment in the system.Read it and weep, you are unlikely to see anything with any real depth. LePage does not intend to lead nor govern, he intends to dismantle.
Many educational reforms will not cost taxpayers additional money. There is plenty of money in the system; it's how we choose to prioritize our spending that is impacting educational results. Increased competition will breed excellence; therefore, I support statewide choice by implementing a voucher system as well as the creation of new charter schools.
The current trend in education is teaching to the test scores to boost test results. We need to eliminate teaching to national assessments and allow teachers to create a learning environment that challenges all of our students to excel to their own diverse strengths rather than a standard of mediocrity.
I will not seek to have Augusta make all curriculum decisions for local school districts. I believe that locally elected school board members and parents should have input in their children's education. This includes allowing local school boards to provide guidance on classroom discussions of industry, natural resources, population, and economic development topics as they relate to the economy of the local region in which the schools reside and classrooms discussions on the origin of life with the inclusion of scientific theories.
For Special Education, we should eliminate the disparity between school districts in identifying and supporting students requiring special education services.
Finally, my goal as Governor will be to lower the average class size, not increase it. For example, school districts must work together to pool their resources. We fail to use our tax dollars wisely when some classes have as few as 4 students and others up to 25. A goal of 16 to 20 students is achievable with the resources we have committed to our educational system.
Postscript: By the way, the last phrase in the fourth paragraph, "classrooms discussions on the origin of life with the inclusion of scientific theories" was recently added to the site; so perhaps there is some evolution in Mr. LePage's policy development.