PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine Department of Education’s proposal for the high school diploma

In light of recent articles and editorials about the proficiency-based diploma and the fate of proficiency-based education, the Commissioner is providing insight regarding the forthcoming Department proposal for the diploma. The Commissioner requested that the Department’s proposal be submitted as a “Governor’s” bill to allow for a process that includes a public hearing and work session(s).   The most significant difference between the Department’s proposed diploma and the proficiency-based diploma is that uncertainty has been removed and a reasonable level of achievement has been clearly identified as a minimum requirement for a diploma.

Specifically,

The Department’s proposal:

  1. Removes the mandate that districts base a diploma on an undefined concept (“proficiency”)
  2. Points to a reasonable and appropriate level of achievement in two foundational content areas (English and math) required for the diploma
  3. Bases achievement criteria on knowledge, skills, and progressions that are already present and defined in Maine’s Learning Results
  4. Provides students with disabilities equitable access to education and a diploma
  5. Ensures that students will have high quality instruction and learning in all content areas
  6. Makes room for students to access their education through both traditional, (classroom-based) avenues and non-traditional (experience-based) avenues
  7. Allows districts to implement diploma requirements beyond the minimum set by the state

The Department’s proposal does not:

  1. Impose a mandated or de facto grading structure
  2. Eliminate or impose a barrier to what has come to be called “proficiency-based education,” “proficiency-based teaching,” or “proficiency-based learning.” Instruction and learning based on outcomes, as described by some in recent articles, is actually a description of standards-based education, which Maine schools have been striving for since the state adopted the Maine Learning Results in 1997. Under the Department’s proposal, school districts may continue to teach, grade, and structure learning as they determine best meets the needs of students, parents, and the school community.

The Department considers this discussion to be an open dialog, and we look forward to further conversations on this proposal once the bill is released.

Seeking comments for proposed repeal of Rule Chapter 250: School Approval for Non-Traditional Limited Purpose Schools

Rule Chapter 250: School Approval for Non-Traditional Limited Purpose Schools has been filed to be repealed as the underlying statutory authority has been repealed.

The original statutory language can be found on the Proposed Rule web page of the Maine DOE website.

Comments can be submitted in writing via email to Jaci Holmes at jaci.holmes@maine.gov by March 30, 2018.

Seeking comments for proposed repeal of Rule Chapter 129: Rights and Responsibilities of Educators and Pupils

Rule Chapter 129: Rights and Responsibilities of Educators and Pupils has been filed to be repealed as the underlying statutory authority has been repealed.

The original statutory language can be found on the Proposed Rule web page of the Maine DOE website.

Comments can be submitted in writing via email to Jaci Holmes at jaci.holmes@maine.gov by March 30, 2018.

Seeking comments for proposed repeal of Rule Chapter 51: Child Nutrition Programs in Public Schools and Institutions – regulations already outlined in federal law

Rule Chapter 51: Child Nutrition Programs in Public Schools and Institutions has been filed to be repealed. The routine technical rule is not needed as the federal regulations articulate the responsibilities for the school administrative units to follow.

The original statutory language can be found on the Proposed Rule web page of the Maine DOE website.

Comments can be submitted in writing via email to Jaci Holmes at jaci.holmes@maine.gov by March 30, 2018.

Seeking comments for proposed Rule Chapter 45: Rule for Vision and Hearing Screening in Maine Schools

Rulemaking for Chapter 45: Rule for Vision and Hearing Screening in Maine Schools been filed as a proposed routine technical rule. A hearing date and comment periods has been scheduled. The proposed rule has been posted on the Proposed Rule web page of the Maine DOE website. Proposed rules can be found in order of chapter number.

Purpose of the rule revision: This rule outlines the standards and processes for periodic vision and hearing screenings. The purpose of a screening is to identify potential hearing or vision deficits among school age children and refer for further care. Updates to the rule reflect current national recommendations for hearing and vision screenings. The rule clarifies techniques and acceptable research-based tools for schools to use.

Hearing Date:
March 20, 2018 from 10:30 – 11:30 AM
Room 541 of the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewell Street, Augusta, Maine

Comment period: ends on March 30, 2018.

Comments may be submitted in person at the time of the scheduled hearing or in writing via email to Jaci Holmes at jaci.holmes@maine.gov.