Maine Governor Vetoes Next Generation Science Standards

Maine-State-FlagMaine Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would require Maine schools to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.  He didn’t veto them because they were bad, but said they were too costly for the state.

The Portland Press-Herald reports:

“While I support the desire to ensure that Maine students are well equipped with the best science and engineering education to prepare them for future careers that demand this vital knowledge, this bill would require every school in Maine to rewrite its science curriculum to adapt to a new set of standards without allocating a single dollar either to the Department of Education or to the schools that must carry out this significant, time-consuming work,” he wrote in his May 22 veto message.

LePage said the bill, L.D. 464, would put an “additional burden on our schools while they are already dealing with a new system of annual assessment, working to raise the standards of proficiency needed for graduation and adjust to new teacher evaluation rules all in the same year.”

The Governor’s administration pointed out the difficulty they were having implementing Common Core.

Acting Maine Department of Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin said there was no objection to the standards themselves, just the timing.”A major project like this takes a lot of work and we’re maxed out now,” he said, echoing the governor’s veto message. “It’s too much.”

Desjardin pointed to what has happened to implementing the Common Core English and math tests as a cautionary example.

“This is year four of Common Core and the feedback (this spring) is that the test is too hard. The reason is that they didn’t have time to teach to the level the standards require. The same thing would happen with science,” he said.

The new science standards will be up for a vote again so this veto, in reality, is a delay.

Maine Governor Signs Executive Order Protecting Local Control, Student Privacy

Governor Paul LePage (R-ME) signed an executive order that affirmed Maine’s commitment to local control and student privacy rights.  It doesn’t back Maine out of the Common Core State Standards, but it is a HUGE step and other governors should be doing the same.  Citizens in that state will still have the opportunity to vote them out at the ballot box.

Here is Governor LePage’s executive order:

AN ORDER REGARDING PROTECTION OF LOCAL EDUCATION CONTROL AND STUDENT PRIVACY RIGHTS

WHEREAS, Under Maine law, the state’s ultimate goal with regard to its schools is that they will “enable today’s students to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for postsecondary education, career, citizenship and military”; and

WHEREAS, rigorous state standards detailing expected learning outcomes for students are essential if the state is to meet that goal; and

WHEREAS, The adoption of state standards for learning outcomes should be done in an open, transparent way that includes ample opportunity for public review and comment, and

WHEREAS, The federal government has no constitutional authority to set learning standards in Maine or any other state, nor determine how children in the State of Maine or any other state will be educated; and

WHEREAS, The Maine Constitution specifically grants to local governments responsibility for “the support and maintenance of public schools”; and

WHEREAS, It is therefore the right of local school units, not the state, to develop and or adopt curricula and instructional approaches consistent with state learning standards; and

WHEREAS, The protection of student and family privacy is a fundamental right of all Maine people;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Paul R. LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, hereby order as follows:

That the Department of Education shall not adopt any educational standards, curricula or instructional approaches that may be mandated by the federal government.

That the Department of Education shall not apply for any federal grant that requires, as a condition of application, the adoption of any federally-developed standards, curricula or instructional approaches.

That, consistent with state statute, the Department of Education may provide guidance and technical assistance to schools, but may not require the adoption of specific curricula or instructional approaches.

That any amending of Maine’s Learning Results standards must be done through a transparent public rulemaking process that allows Maine people ample time and opportunity to review proposed changes and provide feedback. Specifically, the Department of Education shall ensure that any amendment to the Learning Results be posted for public review and comment for at least 60 days. Any comments received during this notice period shall be made public prior to final adoption of any changes.

That the collection of student data by school districts and the state Department of Education must be done in a manner consistent with state and federal laws intended to protect student privacy. No personally identifiable data on students and/or their families’ religion, political party affiliation, psychometric data, biometric information, and/or voting history shall be collected, tracked, housed, reported or shared with the federal government, nor provided to private vendors for the purposes of marketing or business development.

He must have listened to Michelle Malkin’s warning to Republican governors.