AUGUSTA (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage signed an executive order on Wednesday reaffirming that Maine schools are locally controlled and that students’ personal information remain private in light of concerns about new uniform benchmarks in reading, writing and math.

The Republican governor’s order comes just weeks after opponents to the Common Core Standards, which have been adopted by 45 states, announced a campaign to attempt to repeal them in Maine through a statewide vote in November 2014.

Opponents have raised concerns that data collection under the new standards will lead to an invasion of privacy. They also say the standards, adopted by Maine in 2011, take decision making away from local school districts.

But education officials say that the standards, which Maine teachers are using in their classrooms this fall, leave curriculum decisions up the individual school district and teachers.

LePage’s executive order says that the federal government cannot establish Maine’s learning standards that future decisions to adopt statewide educational standards must be open and transparent. It also says that certain information, like a student’s religion or political party affiliation cannot be collected or shared with the federal government.

LePage said that with the executive order, “Maine is making clear that we set the standards for our state, that implementation of those standards is locally controlled, and that students and families have an unalienable right to their privacy that will never be infringed on so long as I am Governor.”

The standards were developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers to replace educational goals that varied greatly in each state. The groups say that there are no new data requirements under the educational standards. The federal government played no role in creating the standards, but encouraged their adoption by tying them to some funding.

Georgia’s Republican governor signed a similar executive order in May.


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