Maine DOE Monthly – April 26, 2016

Welcome to the April issue of the Maine DOE Monthly, which provides a recap of some of the month’s most important updates from the Department.

Deputy Commissioner’s Comments

ESSA Regulation Issue

The latest round of the U.S. Department of Education negotiated rulemaking for sections of the new Every Student Success Act (ESSA) has come to a close. Negotiators came to agreement on the assessment regulatory language, which appears fine, yet the Title I supplement, not supplant provision did not reach consensus.

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations are too prescriptive in the way that states would ensure the proper use of federal funds.

For example, USDOE’s proposed regulations require districts to ensure: (1) at least the same per-student funding amount (from state and local funds) go to Title I schools as the average received by non-Title I schools; (2) funding was sufficient to pay for the “basic educational program” as defined in state or local law; and (3) the funding was sufficient to provide the services required by law for students with disabilities and for English learners.

These requirements are of concern to our Department and Senator Lamar Alexander, a principal author of ESSA, as they would put a significant burden on local districts, particularly for small rural districts. This could undermine our shared objective of delegating more authority to districts.

We are supportive of Sen. Alexander’s careful attention to this proposed regulatory provision as it would adversely impact our rural schools, and we are actively advocating refinements to this end.

Bill Beardsley, Deputy Commissioner

Other news this past month

The Commission to Reform Public Education Funding and Improve Student Performance in Maine was announced. The Commission was created during the 127th Maine State Legislature as part of the bill that added an additional $15 million in education funding for local schools.

The 2016 administration window for the Maine Education Assessment for Mathematics and ELA/Literacy (grades 3-8) has closed, but the work is far from over for the Maine DOE.

Meanwhile, the Department is seeking an assessment waiver.

Another waiver request is for Maine’s application for SIG funding, which is in progress. This will include a “period of availability” waiver request and public comment is welcome.

Revisions have been made clarifying statutory language pertaining to the use of the PEPG systems for all school administrative units.

Creating better learning experiences for students by leveraging their MLTI device and its tools along with cost savings are just two of the reasons behind MLTI’s announced Apple refresh.

The final in a series of 2015-16 “Content Corner” collection of instructionally-focused articles for Maine educators was released this month.

Promoting locally grown foods in school lunches is the push behind Maine’s first annual Farm to School Cook-Off held this month with two regional competitions.

Maine DOE’s partnership with Feed the Children HELP Backpack program was in full gear recently supplying backpacks of supplies and snacks.

An Adult Education graduate is a successful businesswoman these days.

Maine DOE is requesting feedback as to what data training should be made available this summer.

Deadlines

Recognitions

A Maine DOE Child Nutrition Consultant was presented with the Katherine O. Musgrave Public Service Award.

Maine’s CTE Director received DECCA recognition as did a member of the Department’s Career and Technical Education staff for outstanding support for the Maine DECA association.

Read on for a roundup of other recent updates from the Department and as always, stay tuned to our Newsroom and weekly Commissioner’s Updates for the latest news you can use from the Maine DOE.