AUGUSTA, Maine — Democratic legislative leaders said Thursday that Republican Gov. Paul LePage told them he would move his office from the State House in a protest over not being able to have a television display outside his office. But LePage said his staff would remain there “until partisan leaders of the Legislature choose to evict them.” Democrats said LePage was angered he was not being allowed to place a television screen outside his office displaying the number of days it has been since he submitted a budget to the Legislature and also the number of days since he offered a plan to pay off approximately $484 million in state Medicaid debt to hospitals. Democrats said that violates long-standing State House rules. The LePage administration called it “censorship.” “The repeated attempts by Democrats to stifle debate on bills and to prevent me from speaking in front of the Appropriations Committee is a disturbing pattern of censorship that should concern all Mainers,” LePage said in a prepared statement. “Now they are saying that the governor of Maine cannot have a TV in the waiting area. Maine Democrats are taking their cue from the Obama administration in Washington, D.C., which has violated the free-speech rights of American citizens and used the power of the government to silence those who disagree with them. If I have to remove myself from the toxic climate of censorship by Democrats in the State House to defend the taxpayers of Maine, then that’s what I will do.” His staff will stay put, the governor wrote. (read more at Bangor Daily News)
Gov. Paul LePage last week shared his views on education, the state budget, oil pipeline safety and other topics at a business roundtable at the Bethel Inn. About 40 people turned out for the gathering, which lasted an hour and a half. Much of the time was spent on education, and with SAD 44 Supt. Dave Murphy in the room, LePage joked that perhaps his security people should stay close. The governor was critical of current educational practices in Maine and said new approaches are needed. “The status quo is not helping our children,” he said. He said test scores have generally remained flat over the past two decades while other states have improved. A strong advocate for charter schools, LePage told those gathered, “I believe your street address should not determine what school you go to.” He cited Florida, where he said education has been improving since 1999 under changes implemented under Gov. Jeb Bush. In addition to offering charter school options, said LePage, Florida grades its schools under a letter system, an approach also utilized in Indiana. “Maine will do the same,” he said. (read more at Bethel Citizen)
AUBURN — Flanked by two of her sons, Robert Roy, 85, and Norman Roy, 84, Florence Roy Dinsmore scanned the room and gazed at her family. “She says she’s too excited to eat,” said Giselle Prevost, activities coordinator at Schooner Estates. Dinsmore’s clan gathered Friday to celebrate a major milestone in her life: her 107th birthday. Born Florence Lachapelle on April 2, 1906, in Bowdoin, Dinsmore may be the oldest person in Maine. According to the Vital Statistics Bureau of Maine, no such records are kept. Born and raised on a farm, Dinsmore worked at the Libbey Mill making textiles and was an accomplished seamstress. She drove until age 84, when she voluntarily gave up her licence. She lived alone in her Lewiston home until the age of 103, and until last year, when she moved into assisted living, she was living in a studio apartment at Schooner Estates. (read more at Lewiston Sun Journal)
Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.
Our first education conference was a great success, and I would like to thank everyone who participated. One of those participants was Mohamed Nur. He is a sophomore at Deering High School in Portland. He is a high honors student, a Maine Seeds of Peace leader, and he is very enthusiastic about his future.
But Mohamed noticed that not all students were as eager as he is to learn. So, he asked his peers why. The answer surprised him. He was told that they were uninterested in class because they didn’t like how or what they were being taught.
That answer led to a dialogue between Mohamed and his classmates. And that conversation is one every superintendent, principal, teacher, and parent should engage in, too. How do we motivate our students to learn?
A quality education is critical to any child’s well-being and future success. The status quo no longer works. Accountability, best practices and multiple options will help Maine students excel.
First, we must create a system with accountability. By measuring school performance and providing assistance to struggling schools, we can improve achievement.
High-performing states like Florida put accountability and improvement systems in place to identify schools needing support and then provide them with the tools and resources to succeed. In this legislative session, we’re proposing similar reform in Maine.
Options must be available to students and parents. In other words, they need choice. Giving students more learning options and the ability to determine what school is best suited for them will enhance every student’s public education.
Further, we must look at best practices. Many states and countries’ educational systems have yielded proven results, and we should learn from these lessons.
Maryland, Massachusetts and Florida are consistently top performers in education. Just last year, Florida ranked first in the nation for teacher quality. At our conference, we investigated the Florida model and why it works.
Over the past few months, Education Commissioner Steve Bowen and I have worked on a number of education proposals, which we believe will get Maine’s schools headed in the right direction. An emphasis on higher skill sets for teachers is a common feature of reforms around the globe.
Currently, there are winners and losers in Maine’s education system. Union bosses and administrators enjoy many benefits and protections, while teachers and students have been displaced. There is a too much money going to unions and administration when the money should be put into the classroom.
That is why I have made targeted investments in education. While cuts to many state agency budgets have occurred, Maine’s schools will receive $84 million in additional funding over the first four years of my Administration.
Over the next two years, we will spend $2.5 million each year to help districts implement teacher and principal evaluation systems. We will spend $2 million to facilitate the transition to proficiency-based high school diplomas, ensuring that students graduate with a diploma that truly prepares them for life’s experience.
And we will spend $1.5 million to assist Career and Technical Education centers and regions in attaining national industry certification. This will enable students to receive college credit more easily and increase their chances at successful college completion.
Education should not be a partisan issue. Our children are not Democrats or Republicans; they are our future. Education gave me a future, and it is giving my children a future, too.
When our son Devon first came to Maine, his English was not very good. He was one of those students who would have told Mohamed he wasn’t interested in the lessons being taught.
One day, a friend told me, “Paul, throw away all those dead white men books and get Devon something he enjoys.” So, we did. We bought him every golfing magazine we could find. His reading and writing skills soared, and we learned a valuable lesson: effective teachers not only motivate students, they find out what inspires them.
Let’s reward those teachers, and let’s inspire our students. Let’s give Mohamed and others the opportunities they deserve for a brighter future.
March 22, 2013
AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage told a Bangor radio station Friday that he will veto every bill that comes to his desk unless the Democratic-controlled Legislature passes his plan to pay off the state’s debt to Maine hospitals. Democrats quickly denounced his remarks, saying the governor is promoting “do-nothing politics” by threatening to go on a “veto spree.” Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, likened the governor’s actions to those of a schoolyard bully. The governor’s veto threat – followed by his hint of a shutdown of state government – touched off a full day of blame-heavy rhetoric as legislative leaders from both parties held dueling news conferences, negotiating through the media. (read more at Kennebec Journal)
LEWISTON — Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is scheduled to appear at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in April, according to a new tour schedule posted on his website. The performance is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, but no tickets are yet available online. A representative of the Colisee has said details on ticket pricing and availability will be released Monday. According to bobdylan.com, the 11-time Grammy Award-winning artist will appear at the Colisee with the Los Angeles-based folk rock quartet Dawes — made up of brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, Wylie Gelber and Tay Strathairn — as part of Dylan’s U.S. Spring Tour. (read more at Lewiston Sun Journal)
Some days one needs a strong constitution to embark down the mean streets of the Bangor Daily News online comment section. Truth be told, for those of us who write the piece being commented on, that is probably most days. Some days I’m emboldened, tough and ready for the onslaught of critics who not only vehemently disagree with me but apparently hate me and think I’m wretched, stupid and very unattractive. On Friday, Bangor City Councilor Ben Sprague posted on Facebook that “I don’t always read the BDN comment section but when I do I feel like this.” His accompanying illustration was a picture of what appeared to be an angry owl being sprayed with a garden hose. Let it be noted it clearly was a picture from the Internet, most likely of an owl in captivity being cleaned off. I’m sure the owl was not being injured but being cared for, possibly at a wildlife rescue facility. Please don’t post comments that Ben is an advocate of owl abuse. I don’t know him terribly well, but I’m pretty sure he isn’t. (read more at Bangor Daily News, then DIAF, you jerk)
WASHINGTON — For the first time since the New Deal, a majority of Americans are headed toward a retirement in which they will be financially worse off than their parents, jeopardizing a long era of improved living standards for the nation’s elderly, according to a growing consensus of new research. The Great Recession and the weak recovery darkened the retirement picture for significant numbers of Americans. And the full extent of the damage is only now being grasped by experts and policymakers. There was already mounting concern for the long-term security of the country’s rapidly graying population. Then the downturn destroyed nearly 40 percent of Americans’ personal wealth, while creating a long period of high unemployment and an environment in which savings accounts pay almost no interest. Although the surging stock market is approaching record highs, most of these gains are flowing to well-off Americans who already are in relatively good shape for retirement. (read more at Bangor Daily News)
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage used his second State of the State address Tuesday to unveil several new initiatives and argue for ones he has been pushing for the past two years. In a speech that spanned more than an hour, LePage wound through energy, education, health care, taxes and numerous other topics, all of which he said were linked to his central goal to bring more prosperity to a state that’s at or near the bottom of most economic measures. For a governor who is known widely for his brash and sometimes abrasive tone, LePage framed his arguments gently. Even members of the Democratic leadership said after the speech that they appreciated LePage’s tone — in the State of the State address as well as in a long-awaited meeting he held Monday with legislative leaders — though they want his “rhetoric” to match his actions. (read more at Bangor Daily News)
WINSLOW, Maine — For the third time, and the second time at a school, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has warned of what he sees as a newspaper industry in Maine full of liars. “My greatest fear in the state of Maine: newspapers,” LePage told children at the St. John Catholic School on Friday, according to a report from the Central Maine Morning Sentinel. “I’m not a fan of newspapers.” Afterward, he told reporters that he prefers TV and radio news because he believes they don’t spin the news. (read more at Bangor Daily News)