LePage-King dustup has drawn us away from important policy debate

Robert W. Glover University of Maine 

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Thought of the Day: Reactions

The Midnight Station

Reactions quote

No matter how hard we try, we will never have complete control over another person. Everyone has the right to feel, think and act in a certain way, regardless of what we think is right or wrong. In those times where our opinions oppose, we must sometimes adapt, we must sometimes ignore, we must sometimes teach. It is ultimately up to us which one we choose. We have control over our own emotions, thoughts and actions; it’s the only thing we have full control over. But we shouldn’t waste our energy or hurt our wellbeing dwelling on other people. Instead, whilst we should respect others, we should make sure we give ourselves the best outcome out of someone else’s actions, thoughts or emotions. Do not let someone’s ignorance stop you. Do not let someone’s stupidity trap you. Do not let someone’s ruthlessness shake you. Let your reactions always reflect your inner strength rather…

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Commissioner’s Update – March 26, 2015

Maine DOE Newsroom

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE is partnering with Common Sense Media to provide free workshops throughout the state this spring to help educators harness the positive power of technology.

Learning how to use media and technology wisely and safely is an essential skill for life and learning in the 21st century. The two workshops offered through the Department’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative will help educators guide students to think critically, act responsibly and interact positively in the digital world and to discover high quality resources. The hands-on sessions will be led by Common Sense Media experts and contact hours will be issued.

Skills To Help You Discover, Use, and Share Great Digital Tools for Learning Through Graphite will help educators use Graphite, a free service by Common Sense Media, to discover high quality apps, websites and games for students; evaluate the learning potential of these…

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LePage tax cut plan, based on disproven thinking, comes at a staggering price

Gov. Paul LePage wants a Maine that’s more competitive. He wants to attract more corporate investment to spark job growth. He wants to entice more people to move to Maine, and he doesn’t want Maine’s wealthiest to have a reason to decamp and declare their residency elsewhere. He wants a modern tax system for a modern age.

The plan relies to a dangerous extent on unproven and even disproven thinking about people and businesses’ behavior in reaction to tax policy. It relies on misconceptions about job growth and even about Maine’s tax system. While LePage’s tax plan includes a few beneficial changes, it would be unwise — indeed, dangerous — for lawmakers to enact the plan in its entirety….    READ MORE


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Surviving Friendly Fire: 8 Tips for Dealing with Unfair Criticism

Leading with Trust

criticismSooner or later…sooner if you’re in a leadership position…you will get wounded by “friendly fire”— unfair criticism from a boss or colleague.

Friendly fire comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it shows up in your annual performance review when the boss rates you as failing to meet expectations in an area of performance where you had no idea you were falling short. Other times friendly fire shows up when a colleague criticizes you in an effort to deflect attention from his/her own shortcomings. Regardless of the cause or circumstance, friendly fire hurts. It erodes trust between people, causes rifts in relationships, and stymies effective teamwork. You can’t control when friendly fire comes your way, but you can choose how to respond. Here are 8 tips on how to survive friendly fire:

1. Remember that your response shapes your reputation – Above all else, remember this point: the way you choose…

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It’s All Urgent! Six Ways to Prioritize When Everything’s a Priority

“Action expresses priorities.” — Indian statesman Mahatma Gandhi.

As Scottish poet Robert Burns pointed out in his poem “To a Mouse” in 1785,

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”

In other words, no matter how carefully you plan, things still go wrong. –

– See more at: http://theproductivitypro.com/blog/2015/01/its-all-urgent-six-ways-to-prioritize-when-everythings-a-priority/#sthash.0H4d8qdw.dpuf

© 2014 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, is America’s Premier Expert in Productivity™
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Commissioner’s Update – January 29, 2015

Maine DOE Newsroom

From the Maine Department of Education

The Maine DOE will begin visits next month to provide targeted technical assistance to schools preparing to award proficiency-based diplomas.

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Millions in public school funds on the line if Maine loses federal education waiver

Posted Jan. 28, 2015, at 6:55 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 28, 2015, at 7:26 p.m.

Brewer High School student Isaak Gauthier (left) works on a Kindle with class teacher Kevin Napolillo (right) at Brewer High School in this 2013 BDN file photo.

Terry Farren | BDN
Brewer High School student Isaak Gauthier (left) works on a Kindle with class teacher Kevin Napolillo (right) at Brewer High School in this 2013 BDN file photo.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine is in danger of losing an important federal waiver that could have ramifications on funding for the state’s public schools unless the Legislature changes the way teachers and principals are evaluated before March 15, according to the Maine Department of Education   READ MORE…

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All six of Maine’s charter schools have student waiting lists

Gov. Paul LePage greets dozens of Maine Charter School students at the State House in Augusta on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.

Contributed photo
Gov. Paul LePage greets dozens of Maine Charter School students at the State House in Augusta on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.
Posted Jan. 26, 2015, at 5:17 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — More than two years after Maine’s first public charter schools opened, there are student waiting lists at all six in operation.

According to Bob Kautz, executive director of the Maine Charter School Commission, 917 students are enrolled at Maine’s charter schools, all of which are still ramping up their enrollments to what could soon push Maine’s overall charter school student population to several thousand.

“There’s definitely a lot of demand out there,” Roger Brainerd, director of the Maine Association for Charter Schools, said. “No question.”

Monday, which marked the beginning of national School Choice Week, was charter school day at the State House. The event attracted dozens of charter school students and educators.

Despite rosy projections for charter school growth in terms of student numbers, expansion for charter schools poses a unique challenge. Their public funding comes in the form of per-student fees, but charter schools don’t receive separate state funding for expansion or upgrades to a school’s physical plant. Kautz said that’s a problem that will necessitate active and ongoing private fundraising.

However, there’s another major funding change in the works this year that Kautz said is likely to find strong support from the commission and most education officials in Maine. Although a bill has not yet been presented, Gov. Paul LePage and the Maine Department of Education are expected to propose charter schools essentially be considered stand-alone school districts when it comes to funding.

That means that instead of charging a charter school student’s sending district for his or her tuition — meaning the financial burden is concentrated on traditional public schools located near charters — charter school funding would come directly from the state’s general purpose aid account.

“When the charter schools send out a bill and the local district has to write a check, it doesn’t create warm feelings,” Kautz said. “We would be happy to see [the new funding model] because we think it would create a more harmonious working relationship.”

Students at Monday’s event sounded a common theme: At a charter school, there’s greater flexibility for students to achieve learning benchmarks through unique methods, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. In fact, in several ways there’s nowhere to hide from teachers who are constantly monitoring individual students’ progress.

“This was a good choice for me,” said Alec Dupuis of Greene, who is a junior at Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in Portland. “At my old school, I felt like I was surrounded by people who were not motivated to learn.”

Theo Dean of South Portland, a sophomore at Baxter, said being put more in charge of her education has helped her mature and learn in a way she believes will better prepare her for success.

“I went to Baxter because it felt like a school where I could have more of an influence on my education,” Dean said.

Hilary Chase is a math teacher at Maine Connections Academy, an online virtual charter school with nearly 300 students. Having come from a traditional classroom, Chase said that because of the amount of data collected, she is able to zero in on each student’s progress far better than she ever could before.

“Their grade is based on what they know and what they can do,” she said. “None of my students are ever graded just for doing their homework.”

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