Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen issued the following statement in response to today’s release of “Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance” by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.
“The findings of this study are truly disappointing, but they are consistent with what we have been saying for some time – while Maine’s test scores are high for the nation, we are just not moving the needle, and as this study makes clear, other states are making considerably more progress,” said Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen. “The status quo is simply not working.
“One of the approaches we took upon taking office last year was to look at high-performing states and nations, and that work helped direct the development of our strategic plan. We know, for instance, that effective teachers are the most important in-school factor in student achievement, so we passed a comprehensive bill around educator effectiveness that we are now working to implement. We know high performing systems have high academic standards, so we are also working with districts throughout the state on implementing rigorous new standards in English language arts and mathematics, and preparing for the implementation of new science standards.
“We also know we must support innovation by schools and school districts here in Maine – many of which are engaged in effective new practices that hold promise for the rest of the state. We need to look at what they are doing, learn from it and share those best practices, and we have set up a team to do that.
“Just as the Governor and I have been looking at high performing systems in Maine and abroad, we will be looking at the high performing states identified in the study, states like South Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts and Virginia – among those with the biggest increases in student achievement – to see what we can learn from them. There are states in the study that are improving at two to three times the rate of states like Maine. We need to find out why, and we need to move forward with an aggressive plan to improve student outcomes.”