Current commissioner of liquor and lottery; former member Maine Gambling Control Board
A few folks tried to warn Maine people that approval of casinos would be a bad deal for Maine. The people with all the money, however, we're easily able to outmuscle the few voices that made sense and now we have casinos. Now, according to this article, two casinos are dragging one hundred million dollars out of our state for distribution elsewhere. If you consider the jobs in Bangor that we eliminated when they built Hollywood Slots, the total job creation for Bangor and Oxford combined is less than 350. Does Oxford plan to follow through on its promises to build hotels and other resort facilities to employ Maine people? He'll no. Why should they? They have already expanded twice and they are putting their expansion dollars where they can most effectively steal more money from patrons. More slot machines and more tables. Remember those promises from the kind old man who was a principal behind the Oxford casino? This project was not for money. It was for the people of Maine. They weren't looking for quick bucks. They only wanted to create good jobs for Maine people. Well, it didn't take them six months to sell their interests to an out of state company for over 160 million dollars. So much fop the baloney of creating Maine jobs. We might ask now just how much these casinos are contributing to the general fund to pay the bills here in Maine. The answer may shock you. After discounting for pass throughs to groups promised money by casinos in the fine print of the election, Maine is lucky to retain one dime after expenses out of the 1.1 BILLION gambled. Contrast that to the 50 million plus generated by the Maine lottery with just a dozen employees. The casinos here in Maine have been granted a license to steal money legally from our people by a gullible and misinformed legislature. The least the governor and legislature could do now is level the playing field and give the suckers...the people of Maine...an even break. At least three more groups now want casinos. The rules for entry should change, but these groups should be allowed to compete if they wish to. Yes we should charge huge licensing fees. Yes the state should be a financial reward partner in any new venture. No...no outside group should gain monetary reward from a new casino. The people of Maine and Maine's general fund should be the only consideration. Hollywood Slots and Oxford Casino have no money at risk as long as they are granted monopolies by legislatures and regulators. This must end. If three people open pizza shops and one fails. We call that business. We call that free enterprise. We call that completion. Competition often results in better pizza, and completion among casinos will result in more people ( suckers ) at least getting back from each dollar wagered. Lastly, a few folks are still operating off track betting facilities here in Maine. The state should stop taking money from these people and the should be allowed to operate slot machines in there locations. All the new casino proposals and the Oxford Casino have left them out. It is time for our governor, our legislature, and our regulators to put Maine people first.
The governor and Steve Bowen just don't get it. After reading the above twice, I am not sure the democrats get it either. Before either group can fix the school problems, they must first understand that the problems are not caused by money or lack thereof. The problems are not caused by poor teachers or lousy school buildings. The problems are home grown. Teachers cannot be all things to all kids, and all kids are not suited for and do not have the ability to attend a college. Yes, that is correct. All students are not created equal and do not have the same abilities. As we have seen from the discussions this week, economically disadvantaged parents tend to foster children that don't thrive in college preparation curriculums. Most children should not be taking advanced math and science courses. Just like many years ago, and just like in Europe today, kids must be aptitude tested early in their school life and this testing should continue until a path is chosen by the student and the school system. There is nothing to be ashamed of in becoming an electrician or a fireman or a plumber or a factory worker. The school must prepare students to meet the real world challenges that the students curriculum and aptitude dictate. They must not force every child into a college mode because some nitwit politician or self interested PhD has decided that any other choice is bad for kids. Any solution to the problem must realize that we have already lost the generation ahead of today's kids, and that this lost generation does not have the parenting skills, the educational background, the social and moral foundation, or the core values to place willing and able students in front of most teachers. They toss kids into school and expect teachers to do the teaching and the parenting. It is going to take years to correct the mistakes we have made, and the process is going to be very painful.
Let us take a brief look at the top ten schools and the road the politicians want to take us down. Every high school was forced to give the SAT to every breathing person in the junior class. When you can handpick your students, like the school in Limestone, and when each child shows up ready to learn and willing to work hard, it is not difficult to create a great student. When a kid goes to school occasionally, like in many public high schools, and shows up unprepared to learn, not willing to do any work, and has no respect for anything educational offered, that kid will fail every time. When the kid goes home and gets no interest nor any support from parents, he will fail every time. Rex Rhodes of Lewiston Sun had a good idea. He suggested swapping the teachers in the A achieving Falmouth elementary school with the F achieving teachers in the Longley school in Lewiston. He suggested that the results would be substantially the same, and he is correct.
So I suggest that before the governor and his mouthpiece Bowen demoralize teachers further by trying to funnel what is left of the college type students into charter schools, that they decide what they are going to do about the societal problem that is at the core. Before the dems simply say more money will do the job, they to must understand that the problem is in the home, and on the block, and in the towns and cities. It is a total lack of moral compass and a long time tinkering with what used to be a great and dependable education system. No more new math. No more curriculum coordinators. No more teaching 40 dialects in Portland. Recognize the problems and attack them from where they ensue. In the home. Then we can bring corrective measures back to our schools by allowing each child to develop along his or her determined track...yes track...according to his or her abilities. Will some kids fall through the cracks who might have been lawyers or doctors? Probably. That is the bull they sold us all in the sixties when they started this tinkering. Right now, however, we are losing the vast majority of kids, and no amount of fancy programs and new methods are going to save them. Of all the kids who start college from Maine schools, 72% will never earn a degree. Of the 28% who earn a degree, only 15% will earn enough money to pay off all the student loans they accumulate within 20 years. Of course, the 72% who never earn a degree are still stuck with student loans for their entire adult lives. What a system.
Editorial is a good one.
What the hell is the matter with this Governor? Where does he come from with these crazy ideas and his potty mouth? This letter grade system based on SAT scores in high schools is absolutely ridiculous, and is an insult to teachers and schools. I am not a teacher, but if I spent my days teaching in a Maine high school I would be totally demoralized. It is time someone spoke the truth about our public educational system. It is time for someone to step forward and tell it like it is. No political correctness and no masking of the truth. It is coming to you direct from the old computer of a typical Maine parent and lifelong resident who is not expert in anything educational.
Maine and this country have been screwing with our public educational system ever since Lyndon B. Johnson was elected president. It suddenly became fashionable to tinker with everything educational. Remember “ new math ? “ That seems to have been the first silly concept meant to change everything for the better. Over the sixties, the seventies, the eighties, the nineties, and right up to today, we have changed our curriculums, changed our text books, and changed our moral beliefs and practices. As a result, we have raised an entire generation, now adults with children, who have no moral compass, no understanding of history, and no understanding of how our government works. They can’t read and they can’t write. They were simply pushed from one grade to another. They do not have a respect for education, and they feel it is not relevant to their lives. The children in school today in many poorer communities are the off spring of that gereration, and a direct reflection of that lack of values. When we send children to school today, it is expected that the teacher and the school authorities will function as a second or even first set of parents. We feed the kids at least 2 meals daily because their parents do not. Almost one out of two kids are labeled disabled in one way or another to provide explanation for their lack of achievement. When one turns on the tele news, all we hear about is how hungry and deprived everyone is and how it is governments responsibility to provide everything.
Lets look at today's schools. Exactly what is happening and what is not happening. When a child is raised by parents who are uneducated; manifest no self worth; have no sense of pride or civic responsibility; have no role models to emulate; and cannot tell you ( 42% cannot in latest Marist poll) the name of the vice president of the United States...we have a problem. It is not a problem teachers can correct. It is a societal problem, and can only be corrected when leaders are willing to admit we have a breakdown in society and are willing to propose solutions to that breakdown.
Notice the top ten high schools in Maine in this stupid test. Every single one of them have many things in common. Some glaring commonalities are that the child is in the school voluntarily, understands the importance of an education, and is willing and able to listen to his teacher to accomplish an objective. In other words, when you put a willing student in front of a teacher, and the student’s parents participate enthusiastically, wonderful educational results will occur. Secondly, The socioeconomic make up of every one of those schools is far above the average. Third, almost the entire student population in all ten schools is happily college bound. That cannot be said for the bottom ten schools. The majority of the students in the bottom ten schools will not go on to college. They see no value in studying math and reading and doing well on exams. They will tell you that it does not apply to their lives. The parents don’t care. Why should they.
Maybe it is time for all the phd’s in Maine, along with Maine’s governor, to understand that as politically incorrect as it may seem, all kids are not created equal. All kids are not college material. Some kids are better with books than others. There is nothing wrong with being a carpenter, a plumber, an electrician, working in manufacturing, or any other honest profession. What this country and state need are common core values, and what our kids need is a track that interests them and leads to a productive future. A lot is said about how unfair life was in the fifties. Was it really unfair? We had kids and parents select what kind of high school career they wished to pursue. College course;general course; industrial arts course,; etc. We gave up that system when a few goody two shoes decided that all kids should get a college education. Well folks, look at us now.
I can guarantee you that the teachers in the top schools are no better than the teachers in the bottom schools. Again, when you put a willing student in front of a teacher that student will achieve to his ability level. If the student is not prepared; gets no encouragement from home; sees no value to the subject matter; refuses to pay attention in class; does not do his homework; etc.; then failure will happen. Throwing money at the problem won’t fix it. Forcing all kids toward a college education is dead wrong and won’t fix it. Using a college SAT to measure learning success in not only wrong but stupid. Lets go back and reevaluate our goals for students. Lets give them a chance to succeed in a general course, for example. Lets teach things like civics once again so that kids will understand how their government works. Lets teach consumer math to kids instead of advanced algebra. If a kid’s ability as measured by observation and agreement leans toward vocational endeavors, lets provide that opportunity and encourage it. Every one can’t be a lawyer. If we must test results, lets test in areas relevant to the students courses and goals, and not to see if Harvard will accept him.
Bottom line...teachers are not the problem with our educational system. We are. Society is the problem. The governor loves charter schools. All charter schools do is take the willing students and the money out of public schools and leave the problems behind. If LePage can’t understand all of the above, then we need a new governor. Fast.