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Monday, Feb. 3, 2014: Common Core, income inequality, Eliot Cutler



It is reassuring to hear that rigorous high school math courses enable students who are not meeting standards in eighth grade to catch up and avoid remedial courses in college, as the BDN’s Jan. 24 article, “ USM study: Eighth-grade math deficiency difficult to overcome, but it can be done,” stated. The cost of remedial courses is high — both financially and in terms of opportunity.

The Common Core State Standards outline the rigorous mathematics skills that all high school students need to master in order to be college and career ready. The trick is to provide all students the necessary opportunities to meet those standards.

We’ve seen firsthand that providing teachers with comprehensive, flexible resources to teach Common Core mathematics allows them to assist all their students to succeed. Make no mistake, teaching high school math is a demanding job, and helping students make up lost ground if they only partially meet standards presents additional challenges. Therefore, it’s especially important to equip teachers with materials designed to engage a wide variety of students in rigorous mathematics. A traditional algebra textbook is unlikely to serve the purpose effectively.

The University of Southern Maine study presents encouraging news. We need to reaffirm our commitment to support high school math teachers and students with policies, resources and opportunities in order to realize this promise.

Jill Rosenblum

South Portland

Let them create jobs

It seems our president and members of Congress are concerned about the gap between the wealthy and the not-so wealthy. Some thoughts.

Nearly all high school graduates are poor. They have no jobs and little money. Some go on and further their education or enter the military and thus increase their opportunity to garner more income. The others go to work a position in the service industry.

In the past they worked at service jobs, created a resume and then moved on — into manufacturing or other higher-paying jobs. Those higher-paying jobs are mostly gone due to government interference with the system. Thus service industry jobs are now the norm. Raising the minimum wage will not change that.

There is an inference in this debate that is totally false. That is that people are getting wealthy at the expense of those who are not getting wealthy. The two are not connected. They all began at the same place, poor. People are not getting out of poverty because they do not have the education and skills to do so, and the higher paying jobs have been lost — such as in papermaking, the coal industry and the auto industry, just to name a few.

Government needs to stop over taxing and regulating, adding burdens such as Obamacare to job creators. It needs to get out of the way and let them create jobs. Then the gap will narrow and not until. The government cannot create jobs. Only private individuals and industry can.

Bob Mercer


Leader with plan

There has been discussion among some of my Democratic Party friends about encouraging independent Eliot Cutler to withdraw from the gubernatorial race. We need to support the most qualified candidate, which means looking beyond party affiliation and acting in the best interests of the residents of Maine.

Cutler possesses the leadership skills and vision necessary to move our state forward. It takes more than a loud voice or a likeable personality to be a leader. The rancor in Washington and Augusta has shown the effects of polarized parties. Cutler has published his plan. “A State of Opportunity” provides a broad outline of his vision for Maine. We need a leader who will be open to encouraging all our residents to work together for a prosperous Maine.

Bangor is where Cutler was born and raised and where his parents lived and left their mark on the lives they touched. While he now resides in Cape Elizabeth, he believes Mainers from every county deserve to live a fulfilling life in our unique corner of the world. He knows people from around the world would relocate here, and our many of our youth would stay in Maine, if they had the prospect of making a comfortable living.

There is no reason we can’t be a “State of Opportunity” if we all work together toward that goal. Cutler can provide the leadership to turn that vision into reality.

Susan McKay



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