From the community

Gov. LePage to open education conference on Friday

Posted March 21, 2013, at 5:50 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul R. LePage will hold his first education conference on Friday at Cony High School in Augusta featuring best practices and innovative reforms with education leaders from across the country.

LePage will introduce the conference, followed by speakers and panelists from Maine to Florida, including Tony Bennett, Florida’s commissioner of education. This policy conference is aimed at sharing ideas and models from other states, and is designed for legislators, superintendents, principals, teachers, higher education officials, business leaders and others.

“Education, for me, was a way out of extreme poverty, and I want every child in Maine to have the same opportunity I had to pursue a quality education,” Gov. LePage said in a press release. “Every single one of us should be putting our students first and this conference provides us the chance to engage in discussion that can lead to more successful learning experiences for our children.”

The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with remarks by Gov. LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen, followed by three sessions focusing on multiple pathways to success for students, teacher effectiveness and practices proven in Florida to help students boost test scores, graduation rates and national rankings.

At 1:15 p.m. the conference will conclude with one of the nation’s leading educators, Tony Bennett. As state superintendent, he led Indiana through its most comprehensive, student-focused education reform initiatives. Focused on greater accountability and freedom, Tony created the nation’s most-expansive school voucher program and saw record high graduation rates and participation in Advanced Placement courses and exams. Bennett’s leadership quickly earned him a national reputation among government and education leaders. In 2010, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce named Tony Government Leader of the Year and, in 2011, The Fordham Institute named him Education Reform Idol.

Students also will have a voice at the conference. Mohamed Nur, a sophomore at Deering High School in Portland, will offer his perspective on the education system.

“Students tend to learn more and work harder in classes that they enjoy. But at the same time, they tend of goof off and not learn in classes that they don’t like. While they’re waiting and preparing for the future, they’re not learning today, in the present,” said Nur in the press release. “Now, I don’t know what the solution would be to this issue, but that’s up to us, students, teachers, educators and policy government officials.”

To learn more about the Governor’s Conference on Education: Putting Students First visit, www.maine.gov/doe/governorsconference/

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