Hayes for Maine | Independent for Governor

Education

The Hayes Administration’s goal is to see that every Mainer has access to a quality education that will give them the skills and tools they need to reach their full potential.

EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERY MAINER

The Hayes Administration’s goal is to see that every Mainer has access to a quality education that will give them the skills and tools they need to reach their full potential. This is the surest path to individual success and a bright future for our state.

Terry taught junior high and high school social studies in the Messalonskee School District, she was the Director of Adult Education in Gardiner, she served on her local school board for thirteen years, and she was a Guardian Ad Litem throughout the state for nearly thirty years. Terry knows firsthand that there are sober challenges ahead of us.

Creating opportunity for every Mainer to succeed begins with the Hayes Administration’s commitment to these principles:

  • A Commitment to Educational Excellence
  • A Level Playing Field for All Maine Children
  • A Great Teacher in Every Classroom
  • A Consistent Investment in Higher Education and Adult Learners

A COMMITMENT TO EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE

Our children are Maine’s future workers, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Addressing learning gaps in early education will ensure that fewer students fall behind. Reading skills are critical for children to experience future academic success and lifelong financial stability, but only about one-third of Maine 4th grade students – 37 percent – scored at or above reading proficiency levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2017. We must ensure that young Mainers can read proficiently by supporting our teachers and improving the home-school partnership.

Terry will help lead improvement efforts for stronger student outcomes by embracing the efforts of the MaineSpark collaboration. MaineSpark is a 10-year commitment from Maine’s most influential education and business leaders to work together to ensure that Maine’s workforce is productive and competitive; to increase the overall educational attainment of Maine’s people; and to broaden the understanding that Maine is a state full of opportunities and a great place to live and work. MaineSpark organizations connect people with the education, training, jobs, and resources needed to thrive in Maine’s robust and changing economy.

MaineSpark is powered by a coalition of organizations—schools and universities, nonprofits and foundations, government agencies and businesses—with a common goal: by 2025, 60% of Mainers will hold education and workforce credentials that position Maine and its families for success.

A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL MAINE CHILDREN

EXPAND ACCESS TO HIGH QUALITY EARLY LEARNING FOR FOUR YEAR-OLD CHILDREN

Increased participation in high quality, early childhood programs help prepare Maine children for school success. Participants in these programs are less likely to repeat grades, less likely to need remedial services, and less likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability; they are more likely to be ready for kindergarten, more likely to graduate from high school, and more likely to attend college, and earn a higher income. The cost-benefit analysis is clear.

STOP THE SUMMER LEARNING SLIDE

We will work with school staff and parents to stop the “Summer Learning Slide” that often results in lost reading progress over the elementary and middle school years. The Hayes Administration will partner with school districts and community-based organizations to implement strategies to eliminate summer learning loss.

IMPROVING LITERACY AND MATH SKILLS FOR HIGH-NEED K-12 STUDENTS

We can combat the negative effects of poverty and economic disadvantage by targeting improvement in core academic subjects, particularly in school districts and schools where at least 50% of pupils are eligible for Free and/or Reduced-Price Lunch to ensure that every child receives a first-rate education. We can learn from and replicate the successes of initiatives sponsored by the Maine Department of Education, the MoMEntum K-3 Literacy and Numeracy4ME K-4 Pilot programs to strengthen core academic programs (including the blending of other content areas with literacy and mathematics) and replicate their successes.

PREPARE OUR STUDENTS TO BE INNOVATORS AND ENTREPRENEURS

Beyond competency in literacy and mathematics, part of preparing Maine students for the next economy is to make sure all students have access to updated K-12 curriculum in financial literacy, marketing, accounting, computer science, leadership and collaborative skills.

EXTENDING LEARNING TIME (ELT) OPPORTUNITIES.

Investments in ELT can close learning gaps. A recent study by Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI) reviewed case studies in six Maine schools showing positive outcomes including growth in reading and math (Portland and Sanford), increased student participation in academic and social-emotional enrichment (Bangor) and financial literacy programs (Skowhegan), and improved student behavior (Sullivan and Ellsworth).

BUILDING STUDENT CHARACTER

Government has a role to play in working with local schools, nonprofit organizations, and religious institutions to support evidence-based interventions that influence positive child development. Developing soft skills, like overcoming adversity, exercising self-control, and persisting at tasks, are traits of successful individuals who take personal responsibility and contribute to society.

EMPOWERING FAMILIES TO ENGAGE IN THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION

The Hayes Administration will support local efforts to expand programs that involve families and support their engagement in our schools by:

  • Offering two and three generation learning opportunities for parents and grandparents through after-school classes, including ESL/Bilingual Programs, HiSet (GED), personal finance, and technology classes.
  • Expanding district-wide family development programs that teach parents how to work with teachers, what the academic standards mean, and how to support their children in their school work.
  • Redesigning community schools suffering from declining enrollments in cost-effective ways by helping these communities collaborate with local businesses, libraries and cultural organizations.

A GREAT TEACHER FOR EVERY CLASSROOM

Maine’s teacher shortages for the current year, reported by the U.S. Department of Education, include math, science, special education, world languages, English as a Second Language, gifted and talented, industrial arts, and school librarians (U.S. DOE, 2016). Maine needs great teachers and we need to be certain that we provide the time necessary to do their jobs.

RESTORE INSTRUCTIONAL TIME

The core mission of our pre-K - 12 public schools is teaching and learning. Achieving this core mission requires time - instructional time and practice time. The school day has become over-scheduled with many other activities that crowd out the quality instructional time. This has a pretty simple fix - restore a minimum of five hours for teaching and learning to the school day - every day.

ENCOURAGE TEACHING AS A PROFESSION

We must recognize that during the school year, children likely spend more time with their teachers than with their parents. Our teachers are charged with teaching them, keeping them safe, feeding them, and modeling appropriate behavior. We must appreciate these professionals, and communicate our appreciation frequently. A great teacher can do miracles - and we want all of our teachers to be great.

SUPPORT OUR TEACHERS

Many of Maine’s finest teachers are not paid enough – nowhere near what they can earn with comparable educational achievements and responsibilities in other professions. The lack of investment in our teachers is compromising public education in Maine. Every day we lose wonderful teachers, and with them go the aspirations of our children. We need to pay teachers a competitive, professional salary, provide opportunities and training for professional advancement and make sure teachers have the instructional time needed so that every child in Maine can succeed.

INVEST IN HIGHER EDUCATION & ADULT LEARNERS

Maine needs a strategic and long-term plan to provide consistent and adequate state support for public higher education. Our community colleges and public universities will be responsible for delivering the majority of the credentials needed in skilled trades, tech industries, and other professional-service sectors. Finishing high school might once have provided enough education to find employment that pays well, but globalization and automation are decimating those jobs.

LOWER THE FINANCIAL BARRIER TO POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION

Changes in employment and the shifting of jobs among industries have led to a change in the skills demanded by Maine employers. The fastest rate of job growth is expected in occupations with the highest education requirements, and Maine currently has a post-secondary education attainment level below the requirements of these jobs of the future.

When it comes to higher education, affordability is vital. Low-income students used to be able to go college for close to free but now an estimated 240,000 Mainers hold a total of $6.6 billion in student loan debt (approximately $28,000 per loan-holder). Terry commends the University System for launching a promise program at four campuses to cover fees and tuition for low-income Maine students and, although she believes that students should have some “skin in the game,” her Administration will study the promise program and the feasibility of lowering other financial barriers to attending school beyond high school (whether at our public community colleges or universities) so that students are not left with crippling debt.

EXPAND THE REACH OF EARLY COLLEGE PROGRAMS

Like the innovative Bridge Year Program which gives high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to earn college credits while attending high school or their local career and technical center, other Maine early college programs enable Maine students to reduce college costs while increasing the likelihood that they will complete a two-year or four-year degree program.

USE OUR RESOURCES MORE EFFICIENTLY.

Two systems of public higher education in Maine (our community college and state university system) with duplicative costs and programs severely limit Maine’s ability to make needed investments in our public higher education system. While progress has been made to achieve significant annual savings and keeping each campus into budget, we need to continue streamlining our structural costs. Maine should continue to lower the costs of public higher education by reducing duplication of programs, scattered resources, and enable students to migrate more easily between our six community colleges and seven universities. By committing to articulation agreements among our campuses, students will be able to maximize credits for courses in a student’s chosen major, particularly in sequenced, affordable programs in a variety of specialized fields.

FIX OVERDUE FACILITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS

Just like roads and bridges and access to broadband, our university campuses are critical public infrastructure, essential to Maine’s economic success. Based on a recent comprehensive assessment, nearly half of the University’s 550 buildings have not been meaningfully renovated in at least 50 years. This makes our buildings and improvements more costly to maintain and renovate, and presents safety and accessibility concerns. A Hayes Administration will support bonding to fix our overdue facility needs so that we can build training capacity and better align our resources with workforce needs.

BREAK DOWN BARRIERS BETWEEN ACADEMIC AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Maine has made progress in breaking down the barriers between academic and technical education at the secondary level, without lowering academic standards. We are seeing an increase in partnerships between private employers and colleges. The joint efforts of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and Educate Maine to double student participation in vocational programs by 2020 appear promising. These combined efforts are aimed at the state’s fastest growing sectors and most sought-after employees (welders, electricians, HVAC installers, precision machinists, police officers, licensed practical nurses, carpenters and auto technicians). The Hayes Administration will look to support this work.

STRENGTHEN THE CONNECTION BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND STUDENT

We will strengthen connections between our education pipeline and workforce sectors to better match jobs and workers and keep more Mainers engaged in the workforce. The number of adults in Maine with some college but no credential exceeds 200,000, representing a significant cost in terms of stranded financial investment and unmet aspirations. This also represents an enormous opportunity to develop a workforce responsive to the needs of Maine employers.

CONTINUE TO INVEST IN ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMS

We need to continue to build on the good work of Maine’s adult education programs which serve 75 locations across the state to increase the availability of classes to new Mainers in English language acquisition and workforce training and draw legal immigrants to areas where there are worker shortages. Maine’s adult education centers provide vital resources for adult learners, linking public schools and advanced training and education at Maine’s community colleges and university campuses, providing remedial math and literacy coursework that enable adult learners to succeed in college and teaching the skills required for higher-performing and higher-paid jobs. Programs such as the KV Academy, a Maine College Transition Program, help with prerequisite courses and make a specialized academic advisor available to all students.