Commissioner's Update from the Maine Department of Education.
Feb. 16, 2012

Our announcement earlier this week that we plan to take our time to craft an accountability and improvement system that works for our students, teachers and schools is good news.

Yes, it means the unfair and unrealistic system we have under No Child Left Behind will stick around for another year. But the constantly moving test proficiency targets will at least stand still.

More importantly, after that one remaining year, Maine will remove itself entirely from the paradigm of the No Child Left Behind Act that we've struggled with for a decade. This is an opportunity to take stock of the priorities we share to move to an education system that's designed around and responsive to student needs, and to craft an accountability and improvement system accordingly. We want a system that's fair and constructive, that supports -- rather than stigmatizes -- schools when they're in need of improvement.

We're not going to get there, however, without you. The success of Maine's new accountability and improvement system depends on involvement from teachers and administrators, school board members, students, parents, community members and others. What we heard loud and clear in December at community forums, during dinners with students, in online discussions, and from more than 1,500 survey responses was that you don’t want us simply to tinker or propose patchwork fixes to a broken system. So please lend your voice to this important process. Visit the Maine DOE's accountability and improvement web page to find out how you can get involved.

In Maine, we'll take the time we need to devise an accountability and improvement system that is flexible and that works for our schools.

Please note: There will be no Commissioner's Update on Feb. 23. The next Update will be published on March 1. Have a pleasant vacation!

— Stephen Bowen


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NEWS & VIEWS

Starting the serious work of crafting a new accountability system

We've heard loud and clear that students, educators and families want an accountability and improvement system that’s thoughtful, fair and constructive. That’s why in the coming weeks, we at the Department of Education – along with educators from our schools and others – will begin the serious work of designing an accountability and improvement system that works for Maine. By Stephen Bowen | More

Maine DOE makes plans for improved accountability

AUGUSTA -- The education commissioners in Maine and New Hampshire sent a joint letter to Washington, D.C., that outlines their plans to craft a thoughtful, fair and constructive system for holding their schools accountable and helping them improve. The letter lays out the two states’ intentions to get out from under the unfair and unrealistic No Child Left Behind accountability system. | More

Video: February is CTE Month

February is the month to celebrate the successes of the Career and Technical Education programs that prepare Maine's students for success in college and careers in high-demand fields that are critical to the state's economic future. | More

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A Somerset Career and Technical Center student directs Gov. Paul LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen as they row a raft.
Megan Orchard, a student at Somerset Career and Technical Center, drills Gov. Paul LePage, senior policy adviser Jonathan Nass and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen recently in whitewater rafting. Orchard is a student in the Leadership and Outdoor Skills program at the career and technical center in Skowhegan. February is CTE Month, the month to celebrate programs like Orchard's. | More

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