While I know that many Mainers find Gov. Paul LePage’s plain-spoken approach to things refreshing and appealing, there are times when his pronouncements make me shake my head. His recent comments that Maine students are “looked down upon” by other states is one such instance.
In my experience with high schools and colleges, both in Maine and across the country, Maine students are, in fact, sought after and admired. Their work ethic, common sense and, yes, their preparation, means they can compete with students from anywhere in the world.
I agree with some of the governor’s education policy initiatives; some, I don’t. But I do believe he wants to do right by Maine students. That is why comments like the ones made recently are so counterproductive. They demean our students, and our teachers, and only serve to reinforce negative assumptions about the state.
Does Maine need to do a better job of educating its students? Yes. Can we? Absolutely. But solutions lie in increasing rigor, better alignment of high school and college curriculum, and creating new opportunities for students to explore careers and the education or technical training they require.
If we want to make Maine a place where our young people want to live and work and raise their families, then let’s focus on creating opportunities for them, and not dismiss them as cast-offs.
Colleen Quint, Minot