Recommendations will inform improvements the Maine Department of Education intends for the state’s math and English language arts standards
AUGUSTA – Maine’s Education Commissioner is asking the public and a panel of parents, educators and business leaders to inform improvements his Department plans to make to the state’s learning standards for mathematics and English language arts.
Maine Department of Education Commissioner Jim Rier announced today that a 24-member panel will begin work this week to assess the rigor and clarity of the standards.
Learning standards set what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.
In Maine, standards in eight content areas make up the Maine Learning Results, adopted in 1997. While the standards are established for all public schools by the Maine DOE with approval by the Legislature and the Governor, how educators support students in achieving them is a local decision.
Since 1997, there have been four updates to the Maine Learning Results, most recently in 2011 to the standards for math and English language arts.
Commissioner Rier hopes the Department’s review will focus attention on the specific standards and how to improve them, drawing on the experience of their implementation in Maine’s classrooms over the past three years.
“All Mainers want high standards for our students and know they are capable of meeting them,” Rier explained. “There is now greater awareness about our standards than ever before. This transparent review and eventual rulemaking process provides an opportunity to leverage that interest and bring Maine people together to ensure our state’s standards are the best they can be at preparing all of our students for college and career success.”
The panel will be comprised of parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members, college professors and business leaders. Its work is public and members of the public are also invited to submit input to improve specific standards through an online comment form on the Maine DOE’s website.
The Maine Learning Standards Review Panel will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. That meeting will largely focus on defining the review process.
Content-specific subgroups will then each hold four subsequent weekly meetings before a meeting of the full panel on Oct. 24. to finalize their recommendations. All meetings will be held at the Cross Office Building at 111 Sewall St. in Augusta.
The Commissioner will consider the input of the panel and public and plans to initiate a formal rulemaking process that would additionally allow for public comment. The changes would also require public hearings before the Department and the Legislature, which would have final approval authority.
Maine students would still be assessed on the current standards this spring for State and federal school accountability.
To submit public input or for more information about the Maine Learning Standards Review Panel including its members, meeting schedule and the standards it will review, visit www.maine.gov/doe/standardsreview.