Commissioner’s Update – July 12, 2012

Commissioner's Update--July 12, 2012
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The Maine Charter School Commission recently approved the state’s first public charter school: the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences. This authorization is a milestone for the state, and will support 40 at-risk students to achieve their potential as they enter the school this fall.

In March, the Legislature’s Education Committee voted unanimously to create a group to develop models for school choice—part of a larger effort to create an education environment with more pathways to engagement and success for students. The advent of charter schools that cater to students’ specific needs or special interests, such as art or technology, is in keeping with that move. We want all parents to make the best choices for their children’s educations, and, more importantly, we want to provide all Maine families with the opportunity to make such decisions. Watch for a renewed push later this year and in the next Legislative session to make more choices available to students and families.

The Charter School Commission will meet next Tuesday to finalize a decision on the Baxter School of Technology and Science in Portland. Maine can establish up to 10 public charter schools over the next decade, by current law. We’re off to a great start with the Academy of Natural Sciences, and I hope we continue to approve schools that focus on different learning strengths while sharing a common goal: offering innovative, flexible education curricula to students throughout Maine.

— Stephen Bowen


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