Public forums, online feedback will be used in request for federal flexibility
AUGUSTA — The federal government is offering Maine, like all other states, a chance to develop its own system of accountability and recognition of schools — allowing the state to jettison what many now consider unrealistic and unfair requirements and negative labels in the current No Child Left Behind Act.
The Maine Department of Education will submit a formal request for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to the U.S. Department of Education. Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen is asking educators, parents, students and anyone who has a stake in the education of Maine’s students to weigh in at a series of forums and meetings and online. Forums are scheduled Dec. 8 in Bangor; online on Dec. 13; and Dec. 14 in Portland. The Department is also seeking feedback through an online survey and in an ongoing online discussion in which the Commissioner and other staff will participate.
In the absence of Congressional action to rewrite the federal government’s landmark education law, about 40 states are taking advantage of the U.S. Department of Education’s offer of flexibility in implementing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In exchange, the Department is requiring that states:
- Devise new systems for holding schools accountable and recognizing their success in a fair, accurate and constructive way; and
- Develop and pilot systems for evaluating the performance of teachers and school administrators in a way that’s fair and promotes continued professional growth among educators.
“We need to hear from teachers, administrators, school board members, students, parents and others – the people who are working directly and indirectly with students every day,” Bowen said. “For years we’ve heard what’s wrong with NCLB, now we can all work together to build a better system of accountability and recognition.”
At the forums and in the online survey, the Department will seek ideas on measuring school and teacher effectiveness and crafting a system that holds systems accountable and rewards success.
Details for the participation opportunities are as follows:
Bangor forum, Thursday, Dec. 8
Public forum, Bangor High School cafeteria
885 Broadway, Bangor
6 to 7:30 p.m.
Online forum, Tuesday, Dec. 13
Visit http://www.maine.gov/education/nclb/flexibility.html for instructions on participating
6 to 7:30 p.m.
Portland forum, Wednesday, Dec. 14
Public forum, Portland Arts and Technology High School, Room 250
196 Allen Ave., Portland
6 to 7:30 p.m.
More online opportunities
- Take the Maine DOE’s 10-question survey (Note, added Dec. 12: Survey closes Dec. 23 at 5 p.m.): http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mdoe-flexibility
- Join a discussion on Maine’s ESEA Flexibility request in the Maine DOE Newsroom: https://mainedoenews.net/2011/12/05/discussion-esea-flexibility/