Ed Commissioner in Portland tonight; seeks ideas on school accountability, recognition

Last of three public forums part of effort to gather feedback for federal flexibility request

PORTLAND — Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will visit Portland tonight to ask the public for ideas on measuring school and teacher effectiveness, and crafting a system that holds schools accountable and rewards success.

The forum in Room 250 of Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) is the last of three Bowen is holding this month as the Maine Department of Education prepares to submit a formal request to the U.S. Department of Education for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The forum takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at PATHS, located at 196 Allen Ave. in Portland.

Bowen held forums at Bangor High School on Dec. 8 and online on Dec. 13.

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.

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.

Those members of the public unable to attend tonight’s forum can offer feedback online in the following ways:

David Connerty-Marin | Maine Department of Education | 207-624-6880