LePage devotes radio address to effective teaching

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Educating our students to be the best they can be is a top priority for my administration.

Hello. This is your Governor, Paul LePage.

I want our teachers to prepare Maine students to be ready for the jobs of the 21st century. Upon graduating, I want those same students to stay in our state to live and work.

We can accomplish these goals by focusing our efforts on providing the necessary training to our teachers.

As summer comes to a close and our schools open their doors, thousands of children depend on public education.

The most important thing we can do to improve student achievement is to put an effective teacher in every classroom.

I’m pleased to announce that teachers at 18 schools in five Maine school districts are participating in professional development and developing new evaluation and performance-based pay systems this fall.

The initiative is a five-year pilot project of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Incentive Fund.

Maine Department of Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will work closely with these schools. The goal of this program: improve achievement for more than five-thousand students.

This fall, teachers will participate in Take One, a course of professional development offered through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards that moves teachers toward earning the National Board certification, an advanced and nationally recognized teaching credential.

Also this year, teachers and administrators will set “stretch goals” for improving student achievement. When schools as a whole meet the goals, teachers and administrators receive bonuses. Teachers can receive up to $7,500 in incentives and stipends offered through the Schools for Excellence program.

In subsequent years, teachers and administrators will be eligible for incentives based on individual performance. The measures for these incentives will also be developed through a collaboration among all members of the school community, including teachers, the school board, parents, and administrators.

Commissioner Bowen and I are confident the schools and teachers in this program will provide a model for others to look to.

I wish participating teachers success because our future truly depends on it.

As our kids head back to school I would also like to remind you to be aware of children walking to and from school and buses picking up and dropping off students.

Never pass a school bus when its lights are on.

Let’s all be safe this school season.

Thank you for listening and enjoy your Labor Day weekend.