Paul LePage considers review of Maine’s special education standards

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AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday he may seek a review of Maine’s special education programs in a bid to standardize the way students are treated across the state.

“I’m considering putting out an executive order to have that reviewed,” LePage told WGAN radio in Portland during his regular weekly appearance.

“Maine does not have a standard, a set protocol, for establishing a child into the special ed program,” LePage said. “Every teacher, every school district has their own way of doing it.”

“It’s become a way of getting more money for school districts,” he said. “And I think it’s harming our children.”

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“We need to take a hard look at how do we define special ed,” the governor said.

Citing the example of a student with dyslexia, LePage said that children who have the condition “have a different way of learning, and to say that that’s a special ed (condition) is, I think, doing a disservice” to them.

Dyslexia is the most common disability dealt with in special education programs throughout the country. It makes it difficult for students to read, write and sometimes speak, but with help children often overcome it.

The governor offered no timetable for a possible executive order.

He is engaged in a heated political fight to try to consolidate school districts and pare the number of superintendents in Maine.

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