ClickBack on school board

Posted Jan. 24, 2011, at 9:35 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 25, 2011, at 8:03 a.m.

ClickBack this week seeks editorial page reader comments on the unanimous vote streak by the Bangor School Committee, Gov. Paul LePage’s Cabinet, Maine’s student loan debt and bipartisan seating at the State of the Union. To participate, visit bangordailynews.com and select ClickBack from the Opinion menu.

Does the Bangor School Committee give a cold shoulder to dissenting views?

The Bangor School Committee has a streak of 300-plus unanimous votes. Is this a problem? Critics say the superintendent and board chairwoman insist that committee members express support for policy and initiatives once they are presented publicly. Critics also note that the committee does not welcome complaints from parents and others at their meetings. Should this status change? What is gained by allowing more dissenting views, whether from committee members or the community? What is lost? Is the committee justifiably worried about meetings descending into angry complaint sessions? Or would problems that are aired at meetings find better solutions?

How do you rate Gov. Paul LePage’s Cabinet choices?

Some of the names are new to the public arena. Some are not. What do you make of the choices Gov. LePage has made for his Cabinet? Which choices were particularly good? Who will be especially effective? Whose tenure will result in the biggest change of direction? Which commissioner will face the biggest challenge? Should more state employees be considered to lead the departments in which they work?

Is student loan debt a ticking time bomb for the next generation of leaders?

Maine’s statewide average debt for the Class of 2009 for four-year degrees was $29,000, third-highest in the nation. Is this too high for the next generation? Will it hamper young men and women from pursuing the careers for which they are best suited? Will they be discouraged from taking risks, such as those associated with starting businesses, because of the debt? Will they be forced to take jobs that pay well, as opposed to their true callings? What can Maine government do to ease this burden? What about on the national level — should more student aid and more assistance in repayment be available?

Will bipartisan seating at the State of the Union make a difference?

Members of Congress will not sit with their party colleagues for the State of the Union address tonight, but rather intermingle with those of the other party. Is this a step forward in easing partisan standoffs? Is the symbolism important? Or is it merely window dressing? What other steps can be taken to get members to see each other as colleagues and patriots, regardless of party affiliation?

Comments posted at ClickBack may be featured on Friday’s OpEd page.

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