October 18, 2017
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Comments for: School choice will make Maine more student-friendly, commissioner says

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  • StillRelaxin

    Charter schools are nothing but a private for profit enterprise that government officials (Guess which ones?) have come up with as a solution to a public problem. The problem being poor educational achievement of today’s children. What’s Mr. LePage’s answer? Take money out of public school systems and give it to private for profit enterprises (Now there’s a surprise, right?) who have repeatedly failed or done no better in their efforts than public schools. Dumb, dumb, dumb. No, they are not “Magnet” schools for the gifted nor in general do children attend one of these experiments by choice or who their parents may be. Attendance to charters are usually done by lottery. Learn about them before ripping your public schools to shreds.

    Sadly politicians and school administrators don’t keep their jobs by telling people the truth. To justify their positions they always have to provide “solutions” to our problems. The problem with their solutions is that they are usually very convoluted, expensive, and rarely successfully implemented or connected to anything close to a positive result. Don’t be fooled by hucksters who don’t give a hoot about your kids. All they want to do is spread your money for themselves or among their friends/political supporters.

    There’s only one real solution to our educational woes, PARENTS who truly care about their children’s education. Get involved in your kids lives and school studies. Pride, hard work, self-worth, and aspirations all “begin” in the home not in schools, on the streets, or through osmotic proximity with a TV, computer, smart phone, or video game. Check their homework, talk to their teachers, and hold them accountable for learning. Otherwise any school they go to will be nothing more than a babysitting service where your kids go to socialize and we keep getting the same poor educational results.

    • Anonymous

      Your facts ‘aren’t’! 

      These are relatively (dated) accurate. 
      >> 1.4 million students enrolled in 4601 charter schools,

      >> Approximately only 25% are ‘for profit’ and a number creatively combine for-profit, non-profit and  not-for-profit forms. 

      A good technical article on the topic is found in the Yale Law Review:  http://www.yalelawjournal.org/pdf/115-7/Morley.pdf

      • check out credo.stanford.edu for the most comprehensive review of charter schools.  They are not all that Bowen claims they are.
         

    • Anonymous

      right on — I was a single parent — a father raising two children — yep I monitored their friends and went to every parent teacher meeting until they graduated high school — did it make the difference ? — I am not sure — but the girl graduated from college with a 3,985 and the son graduated from Harvard and does cancer research

      did I make a difference — I would like to think so — I do know I was involved —

      • hey-I’m-your-man

        whats 3,985???

        • Anonymous

          3.985 grade average

          • Anonymous

            … on a scale where 4.0 is the highest possible grade. In other words, excellent!

            (Generally, at least when I was growing up, 4.0 = A+, anywhere in the 3s was a B, the 2s were Cs, and 1s were Ds.)

          • Anonymous

             1 B in 4 years

          • Anonymous

            Wow!

          • hey-I’m-your-man

            I thought that was what you were refering to 3.985 average – its just you had a comma (,)instead of a period (.)  in your first response.

    • Anonymous

      If public schools are such a good thing, why are you afraid parents will choose other types of schools for their children? Public schools have been failing our children far to long despite tons of  money spent to ameliorate them. It’s time we allow competition in the best interests of our children. I received a far better education in a private high school.

      • Anonymous

        I do not really care one way or another where someone sends their children to school — just do not ask for public tax dollars to finance it — corporations have decided that there are massive profits to be made from public tax dollars — they are going to find every way imaginable to transfer tax dollars to the bottom line — I have no problem with companies making profits — just not at the expence of my tax dollars and local control

        • Anonymous

          What difference does it make if there is a profit to be made just as long as their is competition between private and public schools for students. One way or another tax payers will end up paying for most of our youths’ education. I received private school education while in high school. Academically my classmates were far ahead educationally of their high school counterparts in the public system. I say, give every student a voucher to attend their school of choice, public or private at tax payer expense. This way nobody is discriminated against for attending a school of their parents’ choice. Besides, I’ll bet you my last dollars both students  and schools will fare better as a whole.

          • Anonymous

            A recent study showed American students outperformed foreign students when both groups were filtered by socioeconomic profile.   What does this mean?  It means that a child’s socioeconomic status has a huge correlation with that child’s test scores.  (It also means that we can “lift all educational boat” by helping poor families improve their economic status.)

            As for your private school example, it supports what I just said.

            School choice makes even less sense in a rural state.  Take a rural school and remove 20 – 30% of the students and that school may die.  There is an economy of scale with schools — and most Maine schools are already operating at only partial capacity due to changes in demographics.

          • Anonymous

            I’m all too aware of the study you referred too. In fact it is just one of many studies confirming a correlation between a child’s ability to learn and socioeconomic status.

            Contrary to your assertion, however, school choice with vouchers would allow pupils of varying economic status to attend any school, including those that perform better than the average ones, thus leveling the playing field for everyone. I agree with you that in rural settings, take away 20 to 30 students of the brightest students and the school will suffer if not die. But you see, that simply won’t happen. For where will these students attend school if there is only one available locally? And if per chance two schools are available, one will be limited by how many it can absorb. Furthermore, how many parents will want to drop off their ace student child 5-6 miles at another school when one is available next door? The scenario you brought up is merely hypothetical.

            No, school choice with vouchers will level the playing field for everyone, rich and poor. It will also increase competition among schools. Those that continue to fail will die out, as they should.

          • Anonymous

            Transferring kids to for-profit institutions will kill public education. Everyone’s sure their own child will be accepted by some excellent charter school, and NOT be left behind in the local public school that’s been defunded to die on the vine. Statistically, that is not possible.

          • Anonymous

            So, you think that the charter schools will be excellent and the reason to not have them is because everyone cannot get in?  Then how about we do away with the public school entirely and send all the kids to an excellent school?

          • Anonymous

            No, I meant that some people ASSUME the charter schools will be uniformly excellent. I believe they are mistaken.

          • pbmann

            As long as that private school allows all students to enroll and is not a religious school then I have no problem with vouchers but I don’t think that will be the case. 

            Do you think a private school is goign to take in a special needs student or one that is not at or near the top acedemically?  I don’t think they will.

            And I don’t think any taxpayer money should go to religious schools unless they are willing to follow the same rules as public schools.  ie no discrimination of people based on their religious beliefs.

          • Anonymous

            They are a lot of private schools in NYC. Guess what? Those in charge would take them all in if they could. Many of these schools are located in the middle of the worse slums areas in the city and are attended by blacks and other poor people there. I noticed you stated you had no (serious) problem with vouchers as long as they were not allowed for attendance in a religious school. I’m curious, why an exception for religious schools?

          • pbmann

            I don’t believe tax dollars shoudl go to support any religious organizations or activities.  I believe in the separation of church and State and with the latest Supreme Court rulling that religious organizations can discriminate legally then I beleive that even more.

        • Anonymous

          I would gladly have MY tax dollars spent on charter schools rather than public schools.  I wish it had been an option when my children were in school.  Having a degree in elementary education my hopes for them were modest:  just get through the system with little damage to their ability to learn.  Happily, they did…but it took a lot of work on our part and theirs.

          • Anonymous

            Sounds your children like mine made out well — I think we both mentioned the same reasons for their success — the school offered them the oportunity to learn , they as students worked hard and we as parents were involved

            In my opinion — private schools/charter schools presently are getting the only brightest and hardest workers so it is no wonder they are successful — the public schools get the whole mix those who are bright, the average, and those with special needs — some are hard workers, some not so and some who do not care  — some parents are involved and some are not — not all schools and/or teachers are equal — do our schools need some help and reforming ? — Yes they do but overall they perform fairly well

            My personal experience — I was an average student who attended public school — my parents were not involved — as I entered high school my friends and I were headed toward total disaster –one teacher in particular affected the direction I finally took — the friends I entered with ended up in disaster — I fortunately due to that teacher did well in school and have been fairly successful in life — so I believe our public schools can do well   

          • Anonymous

            My children made out well DESPITE their school, not because of it.  

          • pbmann

            Do you actually believe it was just your tax dollars that paid for your childrens education.  It costs around $6500 per student per year to go to school and since the majority of funding for a school is local it is paid thru property taxes.  I will guarantee you did not pay enough property taxes to afford one of your children’s education let alone 2 or 3 or more children. 

            So it is my taxes as well (I have no children) that would be going to a charter school.  I would rather my taxes go to educating all students not the lucky few who can afford private school. 

            School vouchers are just another way of reducing the costs of educating more affluent parents children on the backs of the not so affluent.

          • Anonymous

            Affluent parents can send their children to whatever schools they choose.  Vouchers help out the middle and lower income parents who would like to send their children to a better school.  If you think the public school in your community provides the best education possible, by all means use it.  

            My children are grown, they did well because of their own determination and my husband’s and my involvement.  I was considered a ‘mean mom’ by the guidance department and several other parents because i insisted on my children taking all three sciences during high school.  It was not required.  Four years of math.  It was not required.  Four years of English.  It was not required.

            The private schools in the area have much higher standards.  I wish I could have afforded to send my children to one of them.  But, I could not.

            Parents who send their children to private schools still pay the full amount of taxes to the public school.  Just as all of us without children in the system pay for the public schools.

            I would give choice to others even though i did not have it myself.

          • pbmann

            I have changed my mind about vouchers.  I think that if a parent wants to send their children to a private school and use a voucher then they should be able to. 

            I think that the parent should be given a voucher for the amount of their property taxes that they paid for education.  For example if a parent paid $1000 in property taxes and the percentage of that money going to public education is 50% then they would get a voucher for $500 to be used at a private school.  If they choose to take the voucher then they cannot enroll their child(ren) in a public school for that year.  Why should that parent provide $500 in tax money and then expect $6000 -$10,000 worth of voucher per child to spend in a private school.

      • Anonymous

        If public schools are so good, why are there lines of parents in lotteries to get their children into the charter schools in major cities?

        • Anonymous

          There are good and bad schools of every type. I happened to attend an excellent private schools. There has been a lot of efforts to improve our schools. I just happen to believe school choice would be of great benefit.

    • Anonymous

      Paul LePage and Stephen Bowen are promoting “school choice” because they want to put students first? 

      Is it just a coincidence that the LePage administrations has ties ALEC, and that ALEC and the Koch Brothers happen to have a goal of dismantling public education in America and that “school choice” is one of the means by which they hope to do it?

      I think not.

      It’s not about kids any more than changing the child labor laws was about kids.  As StillRelaxin says, it’s about CORPORATIONS and giving CORPORATIONS what they want.

      Online learning?  Charter schools?  School choice?  Vouchers?  Done by these people?  It’s all a crock.  It’s not good for young people and it’s not good for Maine.

      • Anonymous

        I hit like by mistake, we should dismantle the public educational system as it is being used to indoctrinate kids to the socialist mind set that the government is here to provide for its citizens and that you do not need to work hard to succeed.  Free market principles will make education of our youth better as it will create competition, and we can start holding kids accountable and not just make them feel good about them selves.  Kids who work hard and achieve at high levels feel good about themselves so lets expect more of our kids and not just let them slide by.

        • Anonymous

          You make my point better than I could make it myself.

          “Indoctrinate kids to the socialist mindset?”   Have you been drinking Koch?

          Trust me, schools are on the front lines in terms of trying to get kids to be more accountable and to have a stronger work ethic. If today’s kids lack those things, it is because of they haven’t gotten them from their parents. Don’t blame it on the schools.

          Thanks for the “like” anyway!

          • Anonymous

            Why is Koch bad, he is sure better than Sorros or Obama

          • pbmann

            I spit up my coffee laughing at that.  Good one

          • Anonymous

            Perhaps the real indoctrination is “Things go better with Koch…” I bet Fox News and the other conservative media are pushing that one!

        • Anonymous

          You mean like Alan Greenspan said the free market system would self regulate wall street?

        • Anonymous

          Government run schools have been a failure for many decades. Liberals blame the Koch brothers? They are TERRIFIED of competition and the ramifications to the stranglehold they have over the children of America.

          • Anonymous

            Public schools are good for union teachers.  Union teachers are good for electing Democrats who will continue fighting reforms in education.

        • Anonymous

          You can hit the ‘like’ button again and it will erase your mistake.

  • honey777

    The biggest threat in this idea is that the extreme right-wing religious fanatics will want religious schools to be be part of this “choice.”   I do NOT want my tax dollars going to any religious school.

    • Anonymous

      They already do and the American People have overwhelmingly supported it, i.e. PELL GRANTS, food supplements, etc.

    • Anonymous

      John Bapst is a religious school and they are almost exclusively funded by tuition paid for by the local towns that have choice.  Are you fighting against that??

      • Anonymous

        John Bapst used to be a religious school. It has been a private school since 1980.

        • Anonymous

          Then why do they still have religious classes and not participate in standardized testing?

          • pbmann

            If the religious classes are mandatory then they should not get any funding from any government entity.  Period.  If they are electives then I have no issue with it, a class on all religions would be interesting to attend.  It is amazing the number and types of religions that are out there.

            And they should have to take the standardized testing.

    • So, you support the folks who don’t want their tax dollars to go to support abortion?

      • honey777

        Just as much as I support people who don’t want their tax dollars going to any war.

  • Mr_Spuddy

    And this guy spent how many years in education?

  • Anonymous

    Bring in the Charter Schools if you wish. But if the students aren’t making an effort to learn they will have no better results than the current public schools.

    There will be no savings in property taxes. In fact your property tax money will be used to support these charter schools.

    Will the charter schools be required to feed your children two meals a day? Will they be subject to the same regulations as the public schools? Will they provide transportaion? There are a lot of questions left unanswered.

    • Anonymous

      Is feeding your children two meals a day the requirement for education?  How about you get up in the morning and make their lunch and feed them breakfast?

      • Anonymous

        Duh. I don’t have children in school anymore and when I did they always had breakfast at home and were supplied a lunch or lunch money.

        What I was refering to was the government mandating that people below a certain income level who have children in school. Their children qualify for free breakfast and lunch. I personally disagree with this mandate, in that most of these people are already getting food stamps.

        • That’s just mean-spirited and uncaring, patom1

          • Anonymous

            Thank you very much. I don’t mind paying my taxes for education. I resent being told that we have to supply the funds to feed so-called poor children 31 meals a week.

  • Anonymous

    Yes Walmart wants to get into the education business. And guess what — it has nothing to do with improving education — it is all about profit and the shift of tax dollars to the corporation — and guess what it will reduce the amount of local control of your tax dollars

    The Republicans and the Tea Party are always railing about local control except when it comes to profit  — Wake up folks or we all lose

    If this is Mr LePage’s answer to education reform I am not so sure we need it

  • Sounds more like another way to waste money. Sometimes things look good on paper but never seem to work in the real world. We all here about Bangor high School and the good points like test scores we never seem to here the negative like one of the higher drop out rates in the state. No one wants to Be honest an unbiased about what they report. Never here DR. Webb talk about the failures  just the success . Test scores might not be as high as we would like but to really be successful at fix that we need to focus on other issues in are society like child poverty ,jobs, single parent homes drugs. If we could fix that test scores and graduation rates would improve drastically. I wish I had the answers how to fix those problems .  Keep up the good work Maine teachers we Know you are doing  the best you can with the cards dealt.

    • Anonymous

      It is easy to fix, if a kid doesn’t get the right answer, they fail, they do not get credit for the effort, working hard but doing it wrong doesn’t allow you to win, in the real world you don’t get the job, or keep it this way.  So we need to hold the kids accountable to their own performance and be honest with the kids.  I see too many times kids being told by their parents they can do anything they want if they work hard…. NOT TRUE, my kids are not going to be professional athletes and I know it and so do they because I do not lie to them about what their God given ability.  I also do not say they sing great or play an instrument beautifully when they don’t.  We are disabling our kids because we are not honest with them.

      • Anonymous

        The problem is that we shifted the responsibility to schools with No Child Left Behind.  We said, if one child is failing, that is his fault, but if half the class is failing maybe we should look at the teacher.  And if half the classes are failing, perhaps the whole school needs to be examined and brought up to par.

        So, we generated a necessity for children to succeed which was done in at least one case by the teachers changing answers on the standardized tests.

        The public school system is a mess.  Get rid of the unions, and demand good results.  And let kids who have a chance go to a decent school.

  • Anonymous

    I am so glad that the MHPC has found the solution to our educational problems.  How come the legislature didn’t develop the profit generating model for education?  Jeeze-Louise.  Maybe Walmart will givebenefitial hiring consideration to graduates of the “School-Mart” graduates, especially those with door greeter or shelf stocking as a fifth year degree program.  

  • Anonymous

    Looks like Stephen Bowen is putting those propaganda skills he learned at the “Maine Heritage” Policy Center to work.  He has spent the last year on a “listening tour” of Maine schools.  (Can you say waste of taxpayer money?) Then — SURPRISE! — he comes out with two initiatives (online learning and school choice) that he has been proponent of all along.

    Slick Steve just wants you to think he is listening.  He and the MHPC already have a plan.  Believe it.

    • Anonymous

      LePage’s puppet

  • Anonymous

    Great  school choice finally.  Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Anyway, there have been some pointed discussions about the viability of Steve Bowen being appointed Maine Education Commissioner.
    Is he a policy wonk (bureaucrat) getting rewarded for helping LePage get elected

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know  if Steven Bowen was actually a teacher in Fairfax Va?   Can’t find anything on him .

    • Anonymous

      And we always want to go after the messenger when we don’t like the message, don’t we.

  • Anonymous

    Another handout to corporate entities…school choice results in nothing more than taxpayer $$$ being pumped into corporate pockets that don’t give a damn about your kids…and let’s not forget it’s another brazen attempt by the ROBthePUBLICans to crush public schools..and of course…because charter schools allow them to divert your tax dollars into their (and their corporate buddies) wallets…

  • Anonymous

    The purpose of “choice” in schools is to kill public education in America and place it in the hands of for-profit corporations. This model is ineffective, wasteful, and harmful for health insurance, and would be even worse for education.

    Every parent assume his or her child would be the one selected for some supposedly superior charter school, and not one of the ones left behind in a public school that is seeing its funding cut. We would end up with a mish-mash that serves no one well but the CEOs.

  • Anonymous

    I am a parent for school choice but people need to realize that this can lead to the closing of smaller schools when parents finally have the right to choose the school in the next town that can offer more because of the ecomonmy of numbers.  If Commissioner Bowen and Gov Lepage really want to save some money they need to look at the BILLIONS and yes I said BILLIONS spent on special education.  It does not make sense to spend 1 Million dollars to  send a child to Stillwater Academy at the cost of $50,000 per year when he/she will NEVER be a tax paying citizen.  We may as well set that money on fire for the return it will have, that is where the reforms need to happen.

  • Anonymous

    I lived in Maine and now live in Arizona (more charter schools than anywhere else), and I send out a word of warning: there is nothing worse for public schools than charter schools.  They siphon off the students to a point of more public school closings.  Very, very dangerous in Maine, where school populations are dwindling.

  • Anonymous

    Steve Jobs of Apple computers was a big fan of school choice–and for profit too. He felt that school choice would lead to a booming market of innovative educators competing for the dollars that would follow the students attending their school. It would lead to better education–because what parent will leave their kid in a lousy school?

    School choice, in my mind, is not just about letting kids attend whatever public school they want–it is about letting kids attend any school they want–whether it is a small start-up,  a homeschool, an established private, or a public school.

  • Anonymous

    School choice is a republican scam to take taxpayer money and put it in the pockets of their cronies and fundamentalist christian toadies.

    Our public schools are underfunded – LePage’s school “choice” is a stupid one.

    yessah

  • Amanda Lambert

    There are more than two options here folks- public school vs. charter. Some of us decided long ago that public schools were not what we wanted for our kids. We did our research, we made our sacrifices and we chose to homeschool our kids. There are many different reasons and many different methods, but there are some facts about us.  We get no financial help in doing so in the state of Maine. No incentives or discounts, yet we as taxpayers pay for the public school system just like all of you who actually use it. Can we take part in some public school programs? Sure, but many don’t and those who do usually attend a single class or team sport. What we do is done with little support and any laws that begin to bring us into the “circle of discussion” thereby drawing attention to our existence and another option, I for one, think is great. I’m a high school graduate with no college education or teaching certificate who is providing an education for my children which has allowed them to freely learn- past their “grade” easily, and focus on problem areas when they have them that might require a tutor or being held back a grade in a regular school. This is GREAT education; education that is tailored to them, not a whole or group or groups idea of what they should be. People marvel at my children and my friends children who also homeschool their kids. Marvel is a good word. It amazes them to talk to kids who are mature and kind AND smart. A benefit of being taught at home is the socialization time they get with ADULTS who care about them and have the ability to pass on morals and values. They still have to get along with their peers- sisters and brothers, friends and home school group members. But they are FREE to embrace the maturity of the loving adults in their lives, instead of feeling pressured or swayed to emulate their peers. Elementary aged kids are at a precarious age, they are sponges, they absorb their environment.  Do we really think a public school is that best environment? Homeschooling has to be looked at as a viable and truly healthy option. Public schools are NOT the only option. We choose to live on one income to give our kids this opportunity, imagine if it was supported by our state? States like Alaska, which, like us but more so, have many small, remote villages, actually financially support homeschools. They did the math and realized that it costs them less to do this! It’s definitely more practical. What kind of students are homeschools pumping out? Almost always higher scoring, more community focused, decent, contributing citizens. What’s everyone so afraid of? If you’re against it, spend some time with some homeschooled kids, please. There’s always going to be some bad apples out there, but the majority of homeschooling families are thriving. Don’t be afraid! And, don’t say homeschooling is just not possible for most families- it isn’t possible for some, but it is for many and we should be supporting that choice instead of merely allowing it. 

  • pbmann

     I think that the parent should be given a voucher for the amount of their property taxes that they paid for education.

    For example if a parent paid $1000 in property taxes and the percentage of that money going to public education is 50% then they would get a voucher for $500 to be used at a private school. If they choose to take the voucher then they cannot enroll their child(ren) in a public school for that year.

    Why should that parent provide $500 in tax money and then expect $6000 -$10,000 worth of voucher per child to spend in a private school.

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