Education Policy Articles in Maine Policy Review
The Marginalization of Faculty and the Quantification of Educational Policy: Lessons from My Many Years on Faculty Senates
Author: Howard P. Segal
Maine Policy Review 28(2): 34-37
Howard Segal shares conclusions about higher education and policy that apply to public colleges and universities across the country.
Author: Gisela Hoecherl-Alden
Maine Policy Review 28(1): 17-27
The University of Maine Flagship Match program is designed to recruit students from neighboring states and offset enrollment declines. However, language faculty retrenchment at the university a decade ago, combined with the effective double-degree programs with languages, STEM, and other subjects that other regional flagships offer and recent changes in New England’s K–12 graduation options, makes it harder for UMaine to attract high-performing students. If the university wants to compete with others in New England and attract students who focus on global professional issues, it has an opportunity it cannot afford to miss. Adapting one of the language education models other universities have successfully implemented may be the way to move forward in the twenty-first century, making the University of Maine an important regional player.
Lauren E. Jacobs, Anush Y. Hansen, Christopher J. Nightingale, and Robert Lehnard
Maine Policy Review 28.1 (2019) : 49 -58,
This research investigated weather policies concerning outdoor recess and physical education in Maine elementary schools. Data were gathered through a statewide survey of Maine elementary school principals, interviews, and an analysis of existing policies and 10 years of historic weather data. Survey data revealed a significant correlation between geographic location and minimum cutoff temperature for outdoor recess. No relationship was found between minimum cutoff temperatures and poverty levels. There were substantial differences between the reported number of missed outdoor recess days and the estimated weather data numbers. The findings of this research are important for three reasons. First, it uncovered the vast differences in weather policies for outdoor recess and physical education in Maine. Second, there appears to be a gap in understanding about the actual number of missed outdoor recess days per year. Third, these findings may help administrators understand how changes to recess policies could increase outdoor time for students.
ENACT-ing Leadership at the State Level: A National Educational Network for Engaged Citizenship in State Legislatures
Authors: Glover, Robert W., Cole, Kathleen, Owens, Katharine
Maine Policy Review 27(1): 22-26
The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation (ENACT) is a nationwide network that serves as a hub for the pedagogical efforts of educators in 16 different states, with the ambitious goal of having an ENACT Faculty Fellow in all 50 states. However, ENACT courses go a step further engaging students directly in experiential learning exercises designed to affect policy change by working with policy advocacy groups, preparing policy briefs, engaging in strategic outreach and messaging, and meeting directly with policymakers in their state capitals to advocate for political change. In this paper, we argue that state politics represents a fruitful, yet often neglected, space for the development of political leadership skills. Accordingly, we will present ENACT as a pedagogical model for empowering students, enhancing their capacity for political leadership. Yet we also remain attuned to localized variation in the policy-making environment and state political culture.
Authors: Ackerman, Richard, Mette, Ian, Biddle, Catharine
Maine Policy Review 27(1): 36-43
The current landscape of educational leadership in Maine schools offers a range of challenges and uncertainties that are seldom acknowledged or appreciated. These challenges can expose significant gaps between clinical, research-based knowledge and leadership practices in schools in Maine and across the United States. These endemic issues comprise what Heifetz (1994) calls “adaptive challenges.” Solutions to the leadership challenges raised by these issues don’t come quickly or easily and are in fact inherently confusing because they don’t have easy technical answers. In the context of schools, they include responses to the endemic challenges of poverty as it affects families and children in Maine, as well as the nature of instructional leadership to provide better supervision and evaluation of teachers. These issues also inform the principles and practices which guide the development of school leaders in Maine through the educational leadership program at the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development.
Developing Leadership Pipelines in Maine School Districts: Lessons Learned from a School-University Partnership
Authors: Mette, Ian, Webb, Betsy
Maine Policy Review 27(1): 44-45
The authors describe the Bangor Educational Leadership Academy, a partnership between the Bangor School Department and the University of Maine Educational Leadership Program, which enables researchers and practitioners to work more collaboratively to bridge the theory-practice gap that often plagues schools.
Authors: Zoellick, Bill, Meserve Auclair, Molly, Kirn, Sarah L.
Maine Policy Review 27(1): 46-53
Programs offered by universities and other entities outside the organizational boundaries of schools are an important source of ideas and support for educational improvement. Such organizations can focus on important needs—such as improving teaching of science—that schools perhaps cannot address on their own due to resource constraints. In such cases, teacher leaders can play key roles in bringing the knowledge and insights from external organizations into schools, sharing them with colleagues, and gaining administrative support. This kind of teacher leadership, responding to external initiatives rather than just to administrative priorities, is understudied, but programs in Maine that connect schools to universities and nonprofit organizations provide insight into the nature of such teacher leadership. We draw upon cases from two of these programs to offer suggestions to other organizations that might wish to develop programs for teacher leaders in support of educational improvement.
Authors: McKay, Susan R., Millay, Laura, Allison, Erika, Byerssmall, Elizabeth, Wittmann, Michael C., Flores, Mickie, Fratini, Jim, Kumpa, Bob, Lambert, Cynthia, Pandiscio, Eric A., Smith, Michelle K.
Maine Policy Review 27(1): 54-63
Teachers play a key role in the quality of education provided to students. The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center) at the University of Maine has worked with partners to design, implement, and evaluate several programs in the past eight years to provide professional learning opportunities and support for Maine’s STEM teachers, leading to significant impacts for teachers and students across the state. A strategic investment in developing teacher leadership capacity played a key role in expanding the initial partnership to include teachers and school districts across the state. With support from education researchers and staff at the RiSE Center, STEM teachers have taken on roles as leaders of professional learning opportunities for peers and as decision makers in a statewide professional community for improving STEM education. This article describes the structures that have fostered teacher leadership and how those structures emerged through partnership and collaboration, the ways in which teacher leadership has amplified the resources we have been able to provide to STEM teachers across the state, and the outcomes for Maine students.
Injecting New Workforce Leaders in Tourism, Hospitality and Environmental Science: A Community-Engaged Learning and Immersion Class
Authors: Michaud, Tracy S., Sanford, Robert M.
Maine Policy Review 27(1): 79-85
Tourism, especially nature-based tourism, is a major and growing industry in Maine. Therefore, it is important that colleges and universities graduate leaders into the Maine workforce with specific knowledge of the tourism and hospitality industry and with a connection to the environment in which it is flourishing. To graduate these potential leaders, schools must do a better job at retaining and graduating students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Community-engaged learning, including immersion classes, are a key strategy to increase student persistence in some programs at the University of Southern Maine (USM). Two academic units at USM, the Program in Tourism and Hospitality and the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, collaborate in delivering a colocated intensive immersion class for all new majors. This engagement early in their college career fosters a sense of community among the students and with the industry in which they will work. We argue that this community engagement is a factor contributing to student retention and success in these programs and will help create the creative, resilient, locally active leaders needed to guide sustainable tourism development in Maine.
Authors: Voyer, Christine
Maine Policy Review 26(2): 64-68
Education, business, and community leaders recognize the need for increased emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to prepare students for future careers and citizenship. STEM education best practices increasingly call for engaging students in doing the work of science, and citizen science offers an exciting opportunity for this type of teaching and learning. Maine has a unique opportunity, because of the size of our state and the number of research and education organizations engaged in citizen science, to offer citizen science experiences to a statewide cohort of students. Through this work, Maine can serve as a model to school districts, states, and regions for impactful and authentic STEM learning that reaches all students.
Authors: Flanagan Pritz, Colleen, Nelson, Sarah J.
Maine Policy Review 26(2): 50-54
The Dragonfly Mercury Project (DMP) engages citizen scientists in collection of dragonfly larvae for mercury analysis in national parks, allowing for national-scale assessment of this neurotoxic pollutant. DMP goals for citizen scientist engagement are to (1) provide opportunity for biodiversity discovery; (2) connect people to parks; and (3) provide a vehicle for mercury education and outreach. Over 90 parks and 3,000 citizen scientists have participated in the project. Here we summarize information about citizen groups who participated in 2014–2016. High school students (20%), interns and youth groups (24%), and local community groups (15%) comprised the majority of participants. Park liaisons reported that the project achieved internal and external communication that otherwise would not have occurred. Opportunities for improvement included further curriculum and workforce development. Ultimately, citizen scientists gained new perspectives and practiced civic skills while project scientists and resource managers gained data and insights on mercury in foodwebs.
Authors: Lindsey, Ed
Maine Policy Review 26(2): 55-56
Old Town High School teacher Ed Lindsey examines the benefits of engaging high school students in citizen science, based on his experience collecting stream organisms and analyzing the level of mercury in their bodies.
Authors: Zoellick, Bill, Page, Jennifer
Maine Policy Review 26(2): 59-63
Maine is considering revision of rules that provide guidance to school districts about the science knowledge students are expected to have as they graduate from high school. Some science educators suggest adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as a substantial component of the rules. In this paper, we argue that the NGSS are overly prescriptive and narrow and that a NGSS-based standard would push science instruction toward school science where outcomes are known in advance and away from authentic science where students explore questions that are useful to the community because answers are not yet known. Our experience has been that authentic science learning is more likely to re-engage students who have decided that science learning is for others, not for them. We seek to stimulate a deep, careful consideration of the consequences of moving toward standards based on the NGSS.
Authors: Tate, Rhonda
Maine Policy Review 26(2): 69-69
Rhonda Tate describes her experiences designing a middle school science curriculum that focuses on citizen science activities in her classroom in Dedham, Maine.
Authors: Berry, Brieanne, Acheson, Ann
Maine Policy Review 26(1): 47-58
Approximately 30 percent of food in the United States is wasted. When food is landfilled instead of eaten, the economic and natural resources used to produce and transport that food are also wasted. At the same time, however, food insecurity remains a pressing issue both in the United States and within the state of Maine. This paper explores efforts to reduce food waste and address food insecurity in Maine’s K–12 school system, with an emphasis on food redistribution. Research indicates that schools produce substantial amounts of food waste, but little is known about strategies that schools employ to address food waste, either through formal policy or grassroots efforts. Based on an analysis of school board waste policies and interviews with school officials in Maine, this study suggests that the adoption of specific types of practices to reduce food waste is influenced by multiple factors.
Authors: Smith, Jane
Maine Policy Review 24(1): 152-158
Jane Smith argues that languages must be a fundamental component in educating Mainers for the global society of the twenty-first century. The article provides a brief overview of the state of world language education in Maine’s K–12 schools and post-secondary institutions and offers suggestions for steps we can take to increase the number of proficient speakers of other languages.
Authors: Hecker, Jeffrey E.; Gugliucci, Marilyn R.
Maine Policy Review 24(2): 36-41
Jeffrey E. Hecker and Marilyn R. Gugliucci report on the findings of the Higher Education Workgroup, which is part of the Maine Aging Initiative. They present summary information on aging-related research, gerontology/geriatrics educational curricula, and educational opportunities for older adults including retooling for employment.
Authors: Riordan, Liam
Maine Policy Review 24(1): 12-17
Guest editor Liam Riordan in this overview article explores the relationship between the humanities and policy in general terms, identifying the recurring themes in the other articles in this special issue of Maine Policy Review. He contends that the humanities offer fabulous promise to enrich the quality of civic life in Maine and that this promise is firmly rooted in how the humanities address our practical need for meaningful human experiences.
Authors: Case, Kristen
Maine Policy Review 24(1): 19-25
Kristen Case describes the kinds of practices that take place in humanities classrooms and shows how these practices are connected to the possibilities of our broader social life. She argues for the humanities classroom as a compromised, beleaguered, fragile, and ephemeral, but nonetheless vital space of actual freedom and suggests that the question of who gets to access this space is one that should be of concern to all of us.
Authors: Cantor, Ronald G.
Maine Policy Review 24(1): 26-30
Today’s community colleges provide low-cost access to degrees in the humanities and social sciences as well as in technical fields and the trades. The humanities are key to developing the soft skills that employers demand most, and therefore they fit the workforce-development mission of community colleges. Since many students can afford no college other than a community college, their educational and career options would be significantly reduced (with negative economic, institutional, and societal repercussions) if community colleges did not offer courses and programs in the humanities. The humanities enrich our world while inspiring insights that help us to achieve practical goals.
Authors: Counihan, Patricia
Maine Policy Review 24(1): 31-34
Based on years of experience in a university career center, Patricia Counihan outlines the value to both employers and future employees of the curiosity, flexibility, and open-mindedness that humanities majors develop through their coursework. A humanities education allows students to thrive in many careers and to be flexible, creative employees.
Authors: Jacobson, Kirsten
Maine Policy Review 24(1): 37-38
This article describes an outreach program called Philosophy Across the Ages (PAA). PAA connects a University of Maine philosophy professor and her undergraduate students with Orono High School students through exciting biweekly seminar-style discussions of philosophical texts from ancient to contemporary times.
Authors: Taylor, John
Maine Policy Review 24(1): 41-41
John Taylor describes National History Day, a highly regarded academic program and competition that promotes historical research by students in grades six through twelve.
Authors: Dorrer, John
Maine Policy Review 23(1): 65-74
A convergence of economic and demographic forces is shaping a set of formidable challenges for Maine. This article describes how a workforce with superior skills is the key to economic growth and innovation. Over the last five decades, skill requirements have changed dramatically for most workers with the shift from goods-producing to service industries. While much has been done in reforming K-12, post secondary, and adult education systems to accommodate the changing Maine economy, it is not enough More innovation and adaptation will be required from policymakers, institutional leaders, employers and Maine people themselves.
Authors: Lukens, Margo; Hall, Doug
Maine Policy Review 23(1): 75-79
In this interview, Doug Hall gives his current thinking on the teaching of innovation and the urgency for doing so. Hall has been working in the field of innovation for most of his career. He has served as partner and mentor in the University of Maine’s program which offers an Innovation Engineering minor open to undergraduate students in any major and a certificate for graduate students. Hall says that “the world of the guru is done” and that “companies, colleges, and countries need to empower their people to lead the transformation from the inside out.”
Authors: Hughes, Brianna; Smith, Kathryn
Maine Policy Review 23(1): 80-81
A graduate and an undergraduate student reflect on their experiences in the University of Maine’s Innovation Engineering program.
Creative Pathways Through High School: A Response to John Dorrer, “Do We Have the Workforce Skills for Maine’s Innovation Economy?”
Authors: Most, Sylvia
Maine Policy Review 23(2): 59-61
In this commentary on a recent Maine Policy Review article by John Dorrer, the author asks whether Maine is on the right track in its current emphasis on “college for all.” Her commentary suggests that students and employers might be better served by revisiting an earlier model of providing more vocational education opportunities.
Authors: Jennings, Cynthia
Maine Policy Review 22(1): 92-93
Homeschoolers are commonly heavy users of their local libraries. this article discusses how libraries can become educational “hubs” for for homeschoolers by developing programs and services to support this burgeoning population.
Authors: Reisz, Elizabeth
Maine Policy Review 22(1): 118-120
Elizabeth Reisz examines critical issues facing K–12 school libraries at a time of decreasing budgets but increasing recognition of the need for libraries and the skills librarians bring to 21st century education.
Authors: Averill, Debe; Lewis, Nancy
Maine Policy Review 22(1): 114-117
Using current research and professional standards, the authors discuss the importance of information literacy skills at all educational levels. Recent research, as well as anecdotal evidence from students, librarians and teachers, indicates that students lack knowledge of research process steps and rely too heavily on general and non-vetted sources. Studies show that students default to these sources in an attempt to complete assignments quickly and demonstrate of a lack of knowledge regarding topic development, source evaluation and ethical use. Policy issues addressed include the need for K-12 information literacy instruction by qualified library/media professionals, cooperation between secondary and postsecondary stakeholders and the need for information skills instruction for pre-service teachers.
Authors: Donis-Keller, Christine; O’Hara-Miklavic, Beth; Janet Fairman
Maine Policy Review 22(2): 42-54
In 2007 Maine passed sweeping school district consolidation legislation mandating a reduction in the number of Maine school districts from 290 to approximately 80. The primary goals of the policy were to improve the educational opportunities for all students in the state; and to reduce costs through increased efficiency in the delivery of education programs and services. Based primarily on interviews with district leaders, this article describes the impacts of Maine’s school district consolidation policy on educational opportunities and equity within 24 regional school districts, one year after their mergers. Findings illustrate the different choices districts made when consolidating their educational programs, the outcomes of these efforts, and the strategies and structures districts used to implement change.
Authors: Jessen, Sarah Butler
Maine Policy Review 22(2): 74-77
In the last two years, Maine has begun the process of developing public charter schools throughout the state. As Maine moves forward into this new educational realm, questions need to be raised about what the implementation of charter schools might mean for the state on many levels. This commentary article contextualizes the state’s charter movement by outlining the national debate on charter schools. The article discusses the political, organizational, and educational challenges that these new schools may face as they break new ground. The author calls for evaluative review of each of the charter schools in the state in order to better-determine their effects on students and communities.
Authors: Keller, Thomas E.
Maine Policy Review 21(1): 112-119
Thomas Keller provides an overview of K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education policy in Maine and the nation, and makes recommendations for several agencies in the state. He argues that although standards and assessment are important, there need to be corresponding changes instructional materials methods and in school culture. Although we do not yet have a fully integrated STEM curriculum, Keller suggests that “we are overdue for interdisciplinary work where possible.”
Authors: Renault, Catherine S.; Silka, Linda; Ward, James (Jake) S.
Maine Policy Review 21(1): 120-127
Maine is facing challenges in terms of its workforce: education levels lag behind those in the other New England states; population growth is slow; and the economy is undergoing a change that has shifted from manufacturing to more knowledge-based jobs. Catherine Renault, Linda Silka and Jake Ward discuss these challenges, looking at what employers want in their employees and at the kinds of jobs the state is likely to see in the future. They point out that the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, with its emphasis on a boundary-crossing approach to education, is an example of a way to train today’s students to fill and create the jobs of the future.
Authors: Silka, Linda; Hutchins, Karen; Jones, Meredith; Rector, Chris
Maine Policy Review 21(2): 14-22
Although people agree that education is a crucial ingredient in the mix of factors that will improve Maine’s economic prospects, we often come at the problem from different angles and develop different methods to improve educational outcomes. In this article, Linda Silka, Karen Hutchins, Meredith Jones, and Chris Rector assert that progress in securing a bright future for Maine requires working together across disciplines and areas of expertise to support education. The authors present nine recommendations for strengthening Maine’s educational systems.
Authors: Janet Fairman; Donis-Keller, Christine
Maine Policy Review 21(2): 24-40
In 2007, Maine’s legislature enacted a law mandating school district consolidation with the goal of reducing the state’s 290 districts to approximately 80. Five years later the success of this policy is open to debate. Janet Fairman and Christine Donis-Keller examine what worked and what didn’t work in this effort to consolidate school districts and provide a list of “lessons learned,” with clear implications for the design and implementation of state educational policy.
Authors: Anderson, Molly
Maine Policy Review 20(1): 210-214
This article describes the important role of education in helping the growing workforce in food-related industries, as well as the general population. The author notes that education in Maine about food, fisheries, and agriculture is provided in a wide variety of venues: formal degrees at colleges and universities; Cooperative Extension; farm-to-school programs; the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA); and even educational farms. A sidebar by John Rebar discusses the work of University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Authors: Butler, Sandra S.; Deprez, Luisa S.; Dorrer, John; Main, Auta M.
Maine Policy Review 19(1): 58-68
The authors describe how the Competitive Skills Scholarship Program, administered by the Maine Department of Labor, aims both to meet the needs of Maine employers through improved access to a skilled labor force and to improve job prospects for low-income Mainers by providing access to education, training, and support. They note that many currently unemployed workers do not have the skills or experience to take advantage of the new job opportunities that are likely to arise, and that there is a demonstrated correlation between higher levels of education and training and both higher income and reduced unemployment. Preliminary data suggest a high level of satisfaction by program participants and that graduates are finding positions in high-growth, high-wage occupations.
Authors: Sterling, Lauren; Peavey, Sheryl; Burke, Michael
Maine Policy Review 19(1): 74-77
Educare is a national model for providing center-based early childhood care and education, focused on improving student achievement for children growing up in poverty. The authors of this commentary describe development of Educare Central Maine in Waterville, scheduled to open in September 2010.
Authors: Bush, Barbara
Maine Policy Review 18(1): 8-9
In the Margaret Chase Smith Essay, former First Lady Barbara Bush discusses the importance of family literacy for preschool and school-aged children and their families. Children enrolled in these programs show significant progress in reading levels and are less likely to drop out of school. Adult participants have greatly improved their reading skills, are more involved in their children’s education, and are better prepared to be good employees.
Authors: Trostel, Philip A.
Maine Policy Review 18(1): 18-25
Philip Trostel presents compelling evidence of the importance of early investment in young children, citing research demonstrating the economic and social benefits of such investments. He suggests that the lack of understanding of the cause-and-effect relationship between early childhood experiences and later-life consequences and a failure to conceptualize how things might be done in new ways are both obstacles. Trostel argues that investing in early childhood development benefits children for the rest of their lives, benefits government with reduced spending in other areas, and moreover is the “right thing to do.”
Authors: Cobo-Lewis, Alan B.
Maine Policy Review 18(1): 68-81
Alan B. Cobo-Lewis describes Maine’s system of services for young children with disabilities. He notes that families of young children with disabilities face challenges in navigating Maine’s service structure. There can be delays before children get appropriate evaluation, and there are sometimes problems with inter-agency referrals. Cobo-Lewis makes a number of recommendations regarding data linkage; coordination of eligibility determination from different funding streams; updating inter-agency agreements; and creation of a more efficient state departmental structure for services to children with disabilities
Authors: Oldham, Erin E.; Atkins, Julie A.; Ward, Helen D.
Maine Policy Review 18(1): 88-92
The authors discuss the increasing number of Maine children who are English language learners (ELL) or who are limited-English proficient (LEP), noting that insufficient attention has been paid to the preschool education of this group. The authors describe lessons learned from an Early Reading First Program in Portland, which enhanced the school-readiness of preschool ELL children.
Authors: DellaMattera, Julie
Maine Policy Review 18(1): 106-115
Julie DellaMattera describes how the strongest predictors of high-quality care and early education are the educational preparation of early educators, their continued training, compensation, and recognition of their professionalism. She presents information on the current patterns of educational preparation and poor compensation of early educators and offers recommendations to improve training and compensation. DellaMattera notes the need to also change public perceptions of those who work in the field of early care and education so that they are respected for their specialized knowledge.
Authors: Eaton, Candace J.
Maine Policy Review 18(1): 116-125
Candace J. Eaton describes why parent education is important and discusses a number of parent-education approaches and programs that currently exist in Maine. She argues that we need to increase access to research-supported programs, parent-education classes, and support groups to all geographic areas of the state and all populations. In this era of reduced funding, Eaton recommends continuous evaluation of program outcomes and the limitation of funding to programs and approaches that show positive improvements.
Authors: Lindenfeld, Laura; Hoecherl-Alden, Gisela
Maine Policy Review 17(1): 54-67
Authors: Brawley, Susan H.; Pusey, Judith; Cole, Barbara J.W.; Gott, Lauree E.; Norton, Stephen A.
Maine Policy Review 17(1): 68-80
To meet many modern global challenges, we need to promote scientific and technical literacy. The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) supports a “revolutionary” program to connect science education at all levels, from elementary through graduate school. The authors demonstrate how Maine has benefited from this program. They describe the University of Maine’s NSF-funded “GK-12 STEM” program, which placed graduate and advanced undergraduate science and technology students in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms; provided equipment for the schools; and offered training and professional development for the partner teachers. The authors urge the state, universities, and school districts to continue to use this model to increase science literacy and research capacity.
Authors: Smith, Peter F.; Gott, Lauree E.
Maine Policy Review 17(1): 81-83
In these commentaries, a partner teacher and a fellow discuss their participation in an NSF-funded program (GK-12 STEM) at the University of Maine that connects science education at all levels, from elementary school through graduate school.
High School Achievement in Maine: Where You Come From Matters More Than School Size and Expenditures
Authors: Desjardins, Fern; Donaldson, Gordon A. Jr.
Maine Policy Review 17(1): 84-93
Fern Desjardins and Gordon Donaldson report on their research examining the relationship between academic achievement in Maine’s public high schools and school size, per-pupil operating costs, and socioeconomic status. Using aggregated Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) scores, their study confirmed previous research that socioeconomic status (using both family and community measures) is the most important factor associated with achievement, while school size is not a critical factor. Additionally, the authors found that per-pupil operating costs are higher in the state’s largest and smallest high schools. The authors suggest that the creation of larger districts and larger schools, as supported by recent state policies, will not necessarily mitigate inequities in student achievement resulting from family and community socioeconomic status, and may not yield the desired cost savings.
Authors: Mackenzie, Sarah V.; Harris, Walter J.
Maine Policy Review 17(1): 94-106
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was created in an effort to improve the status of teaching as a career. In 2006, the Maine legislature authorized a salary supplement for Maine teachers who were certified by the NBPTS. Sarah Mackenzie and Walter Harris describe their study focused on the value of NBPTS certification in professional development and teacher leadership; teacher motivation for seeking certification; barriers to certification; and how Maine teachers might be encouraged to seek certification. They point out that National Board certification is one among many ways to support and improve the quality of teaching in Maine.
You Don’t Always Get What You Want: Lessons to Be Learned from the Demise of Maine’s Local Assessment System
Authors: Berger, Rebecca H.
Maine Policy Review 16(1): 54-65
The recent repeal of Maine’s local education assessment requirement was met with mixed reactions ranging from relief to outrage. That there were such differing responses points to the fact that “assessment” in education is understood in diverse and sometimes contradictory ways. In this article, Rebecca Berger looks retrospectively at how the problems associated with implementing Maine’s local assessment system (LAS) were caused by a lack of understanding of important aspects of assessment as it relates to standards-based reform in education. Using examples from her case study of one Maine school district, Berger notes three areas of ongoing concern: lack of capacity at state and local levels to implement change; problems with alignment of curricula and assessments; and competing priorities among current federal and state reforms. Berger concludes with advice for Maine policymakers as they consider future standards-based reform efforts.
Authors: Ross, Flynn
Maine Policy Review 14(1): 56-63
As do many states, Maine has requirements and standards aimed at having “well-qualified” teachers. While few dispute the need for such standards, Flynn Ross brings attention to one case in Portland where use of a standardized exam to certify new teachers was preventing well qualified—but culturally and linguistically diverse—teachers from becoming certified. She chronicles the successful attempts of one group to petition the Maine State Board of Education to allow greater flexibility in the testing standards. In doing so, she points to a larger truth that well-intentioned policy goals may seek to achieve a greater good, but may at the same time have unintended consequences.
Authors: Reilly, Catherine
Maine Policy Review 14(1): 64-69
Maine’s level of higher education attainment has remained stubbornly low despite substantial efforts to improve the access to and availability of higher education options. Maine’s state economist, Catherine Reilly, examines the pros and cons of two perhaps underutilized policy tools for increasing Maine’s higher education attainment level—loan forgiveness and loan repayment. The design and marketing of such programs are critical, and would have to be done carefully. Reilly notes, however, that loan forgiveness and repayment are unique policy tools because they create incentives for students to live and work in the state after graduation.
Authors: Sky, Harry
Maine Policy Review 12(2): 84-87
Rabbi Harry Sky, founder of the senior college movement in Maine, provides his insights on the increasing desire by older adults for lifelong learning. He writes that older adults are seeking experiences to counteract the profound sense of loneliness and “disconnectedness” that often accompany retirement. Institutions such as Maine’s senior colleges provide one such kind of experience, though they are not the only answer. Rabbi Sky reflects that in this country, we have not afforded the honor to seniors seen in other parts of the world, and that we should take a page from other civilizations.
Authors: Trostel, Philip A.
Maine Policy Review 12(3): 64-75
Economist Philip Trostel analyzes the size of Maine’s schools and school districts and the costs and quality of education. He argues that some schools and districts may be too small to be cost-efficient; that on average education in Maine costs more per student than in the rest of the country; and that education quality may not be as high in smaller schools as in larger ones, at least based on some measures. While there may be some less-measurable benefits to small schools, Trostel suggests that declining school-age populations and increasing costs should lead policymakers to seriously consider consolidating schools and districts, not only to achieve cost savings but also to enable more opportunities for Maine’s children.
Authors: Janet Fairman
Maine Policy Review 12(3): 76-86
Janet Fairman discusses the thorny issue of school quality, suggesting that small schools have certain strengths compared to larger schools. Data from her study of small high schools in Maine, as well as research literature, suggest that compared to large schools, small schools allow for greater personal attention to students, have greater flexibility in scheduling, programming and instructional decisions, and often have stronger school-community connections that support student achievement and serve important community needs. Using quantitative measures of quality, Fairman notes that school size alone explains very little of the variation in 11th grade Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) scores, while on other measures there are only small differences based on school size. She suggests that as school systems are redesigned for greater cost efficiency, we should be mindful of the strengths of both small and large high schools and make these strengths part of all high schools, no matter their size.
Authors: Carnevale, Anthony; Desrochers, Donna M.
Maine Policy Review 11(2): 10-29
Technological innovation, globalization and other economic forces together shape the structure of jobs and the way we work. Such forces have gained momentum over the last 40 years with the advent of a new economy that is increasingly reliant on skilled workers with a postsecondary education. This trend is evident in all sectors of Maine’s economy. In this article, Carnevale and Desrochers show where the jobs are in Maine and how the education attainment of those who hold such jobs has changed over the last 40 years. They look at where jobs will be in the future and the skills that employers want. They project that the forces fueling the demand for college-educated workers today will continue to grow, along with the income divide between those who have some postsecondary education and those who do not.
Authors: Trostel, Philip A.
Maine Policy Review 11(2): 30-43
Maine lags the nation in economic prosperity and in education attainment, and there is little doubt that the relative lack of higher education in Maine is a leading factor. In this article, Trostel looks at each of the three sources of Maine’s relatively low education attainment: the net emigration of college graduates (who are presumably in search of employment opportunities elsewhere); relatively fewer students going on to college; and the net emigration of high-school graduates leaving Maine to attend out-of-state postsecondary schools. While all three factors have happened in Maine to some extent, the net emigration of the state’s high-school students is by far the biggest factor explaining the low levels of education attainment. After analyzing some of the data related to public support for education and cost, Trostel concludes that higher education in Maine is not a good enough deal relative to other states to keep a high proportion of its traditional-aged, college-bound youth here. To reverse this trend, Trostel says Maine needs to lower tuition costs and substantially increase the quality of our higher education.
Barriers to Postsecondary Education in Maine: Making College the Obvious and Attainable Next Step for More Maine Students
Authors: Quint, Colleen J.; Plimpton, Lisa
Maine Policy Review 11(2): 44-58
The question of why more high school students do not go on to college has been the focus of recent research at the Mitchell Institute. Quint and Plimpton summarize this research, which involved more than 2,500 Maine students, educators and parents. They find that financial barriers are only one piece of a complicated puzzle. Other barriers include parental attitudes, whether any family members have attended college, the high school experience (i.e., what track the student is placed in), the quality of career planning in school and at home, and the level of active planning for college (while many students say they plan to go on to college, some do not take the specific steps necessary to actually do so). By sifting through the layers of what is happening in Maine’s secondary schools and among students and parents, Quint and Plimpton generate a set of practical recommendations for policymakers and educators alike.
Authors: Gallaudet, Denison; Sciopone, Henry R.; Scott, Thomas; Kautz, Robert B.; Shaw, Roger; Eastman, Mark; Lyons, Richard A.; Hasson, Bob
Maine Policy Review 10(1): 48-59
To further discussion about the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) model for funding public education in Maine, Maine Policy Review asked eight superintendents—representing districts across the state— to provide their views. We also asked each to discuss the needs of his district and whether additional state policy options were necessary to tackle the most pressing issues. The districts represented by these superintendents are a cross section of urban and rural high-receivers and low-receivers. Still, several commonalities emerge: the need for a state commitment that does not wax and wane with the business cycle; the urgency of professional development for new and experienced teachers; and, the importance of linking student outcomes with student assessment measures and student funding. In short, EPS is not seen as a solution to the state’s ongoing debate over public-education funding, but is recognized as a necessary first step.
Authors: McDonagh, Paddy
Maine Policy Review 9(1): 18-27
This article summarizes McDonagh’s remarks at the June 14, 1999 Maine Governor’s Economic Development Conference. He outlines Ireland’s educational strategies and investments of the past 30 years, as well as plans for the future, which include not only new educational initiatives but also significant investments in research and development. The educational roots of Ireland’s economic miracle include a concerted national effort to increase participation rates in higher education and a strategic effort to match the country’s education and training programs to the skills needs of global, high-tech companies. Such efforts have spanned decades, have required substantial investment, and have been sustained across changes in government administrations. Most importantly, such efforts have paid off. Ireland boasts one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world and is able to build economic success from its human capital by attracting the inward investment of growing high-tech, global companies.
Authors: Vamvakias, Sally
Maine Policy Review 9(1): 44-49
This conversation between Sally Vamvakias, former chair of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees took place on October 5, 1999. At the time, Vamvakias had just completed her ten-year tenure as a trustee, the last four as chair. In this forward-looking conversation, Vamvakias talks about the change that electronic forms of knowledge transmission are bringing to higher education, and lays out the challenges to the University of Maine System as we begin the new millennium. This interview was conducted for Maine Policy Review by Luisa S. Deprez of the University of Southern Maine.
Authors: Brennan, Michael F.; Delogu, Orlando E.
Maine Policy Review 9(1): 78-83
Brennan and Delogu’s commentary asserts the importance of retaining local household income as a factor in determining school funding formulas in Maine. They note that inclusion of income in school aid equalization formulas has been embraced in over a dozen other states.
Authors: Breen, Yellow Light
Maine Policy Review 8(2): 48-55
In its last session, the legislature adopted much needed reforms to Maine’s education funding formula. Among other things, these reforms help to establish a link between education funding and student performance, to recognize the true costs of education, and to better measure the communities’ relative ability to pay. Yellow Light Breen explains each of these elements to be phased in over the next several years. He also responds to Peter Mills’ argument (this issue) to eliminate income from the definition of ability to pay and on the need for broader changes in how local government is funded. He notes that the recently adopted reforms allow policymakers the necessary breathing room to tackle these broader issues, but cautions legislators to stay the course in completing the reforms they just enacted.
Authors: Albanese, J. Duke
Maine Policy Review 6(1): 27-34
Few issues touch the hearts, minds, and lives of Mainers more than education. Learning Results, budgetary concerns, violence in schools, and school choice are among the issues that occupy much of the public policy focus of educators, administrators, taxpayers, and lawmakers alike. In this interview, Commissioner J. Duke Albanese addresses some of these education issues, most notably Learning Results and their potential impact on education in Maine.
Authors: Silvernail, David L.
Maine Policy Review 6(2): 26-34
Why does Maine rank so low in higher education participation? What factors may be influencing whether Maine citizens pursue education beyond high school? Much of the debate to answer these questions has focused on students and described the problem as a lack of aspirations. David Silvernail provides another look at this issue. While student aspirations are important, Silvernail suggests that factors related to Maine’s higher education system also may contribute to the problem of low enrollment. He compares Maine to six peer states and finds that for a number of factors such as cost and program accessibility, Maine ranks poorly. He concludes that a part of the solution lies in changes to higher education, and offers his perspective on what changes might make a difference.
A Comparative Evaluation of Distance Learning Versus Traditional Teaching Methods in an Associate Degree Nursing Program
Authors: Nicoll, Leslie H.; Steinhacker, Marianne D.; Ouellette, Teena H.
Maine Policy Review 5(1): 65-73
The policy question addressed by this article is whether distance education works. Are students taught by distance learning disadvantaged relative to their peers in traditional educational settings? The results of this study strongly indicate that distance learning in nursing does work and that significant benefits may result for rural Maine residents if distance learning opportunities are expanded.
Authors: Townsend, Ralph
Maine Policy Review 4(1): 49-53
School funding in Maine remains a controversial and complex issue. Economist Ralph Townsend provides one perspective on this issue in his commentary.
Authors: Laplante, Josephine M.
Maine Policy Review 3(2): 43-51
Reform of Maine’s school funding law has been a vexing issue for educators and politicians alike. It continues to dominate the education issue agenda in Augusta and will be a major focus of attention by the 117th State Legislature. In this article, Josephine LaPlante examines two broad issue areas of educational funding reform that have been the source of much debate and contention: pupil equity and taxpayer equity. Among other things, she offers some alternatives for alleviating the most pressing problems associated with those issues.
Authors: Marnik, George F.; Donaldson, Gordon A. Jr.
Maine Policy Review 3(2): 53-63
School change does not happen in a vacuum. It requires initiative and leadership. Because Maine’s educational system features a strong local control component, successful educational change requires development of local leadership. George Marnik and Gordon Donaldson report on the Maine Academyfor School Leaders, an educational leadership development project in which they were involved. Among other things, the researchers learned that successful educational change is not likely to result from a one-size-fits-all state policy. Rather, successful reform occurs “one individual at a time, one school at a time.”
Authors: Lavigne, Jean E.; Hofmaster, Patricia
Maine Policy Review 2(3): 35-50
Jean Lavigne and Patricia Hofmaster assess Maine’s position relative to school finance reform and offer some suggestions for future action.
Authors: Laverty, Edward B.; Laverty, Roberta P.
Maine Policy Review 2(3): 69-84
Edward and Roberta Laverty describe the new American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) that opened in September 1991. This is the first private educational institution opened in Bulgaria since World War II, and because of its affiliation with the University of Maine, it becasme the only fully accredited university in Eastern Europe..
Authors: Orr, James F. III
Maine Policy Review 1(3): 19-23
Business has been increasingly concerned about the reform of education in the U.S. in recent years, according to James F. Orr III, chief executive officer of UNUM. Although financial resources have been contributed to the reform efforts, Orr admits, business has not taken the larger step of actually participating in the process of education reform. Participation, he argues, is central to changing schools to respond to the realities of the 21st century. Business must retake ownership of American schools, along with other stakeholders and citizens in general. In this article, based on an address made earlier this year at a business conference, Orr called for a “second American Revolution” aimed at reforming our education system.
Authors: Shaw, Brian C.
Maine Policy Review 1(3): 37-47
As Rushworth Kidder noted in another article in this issue, the mere mention of values education creates a stir among its advocates and detractors. Brian Shaw, a Portland attorney whose practice focuses in part on public school law, was asked by Maine Policy Review to address the legal issues involved in values education in public schools. The article includes an overview of those issues and, by way of illustration, a case study from a Maine school district.