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Charter‌ ‌schools‌ ‌in‌ ‌Maine‌ ‌ ‌

Fortunately, families and students in Maine do not have to worry about the accusations levied at public charter schools in Jeff Bryant’s OpEd piece of Aug. 23 Those assertions are neither accurate nor relevant to the 10 public education charter programs in Maine that families choose because they meet the needs of their children ( over 2,400 last year with another several hundred on waiting lists).

Maine’s charter school options are authorized and monitored by the independent and professional Charter School Commission. They are student-centered and family-friendly, they hire inspiring teachers, and are committed to providing, and have provided, continuity of learning in these difficult times.

Having instituted remote “snow days” over the past several years, they were familiar with remote learning techniques with their teachers working to improve instruction and engage students. The two virtual charter schools are providing assistance to many traditional district school teachers who were not familiar with this model.

Why were most not familiar? Because the national and local teachers’ associations have consistently opposed adapting to the changing education needs of our children. The attacks in Maine have limited the number and variety of public options available to Maine families. These organizations have shown they do not respect the needs of parents to find free public options that work for their children.

The national teachers’ unions have politicized public education options. They push candidates to continue the “one size fits all” approach of the bureaucratic district-managed system. Maine needs leaders who understand the challenges families face, and who are willing to support innovative and accountable programs that meet kids’ needs. That is the best way to help families cope with the disruptions of the pandemic.

Judith D. Jones, Ph.D.

Board Chair

Maine Association for Charter Schools

Hope

Safe streets for pedestrians and bicyclists  

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine applauds the Aug. 24 editorial, “Crosswalks, no matter their color, are failing to protect pedestrians,” as we, too, have seen the troubling data concerning pedestrians injured or killed in crosswalks across the state.

Since 2015, the coalition has been conducting “Imagine People Here” demonstrations as a direct response to crash data, speed and yield studies, and the comments of concerned Mainers who feel walking and biking is too dangerous in their cities and towns. These temporary installations aim to improve road designs in ways that calm traffic and make pedestrians, cyclists, and other “vulnerable users” more visible to motorists.

Imagine People Here projects use temporary delineators and signs to add vertical elements to crosswalks in order to increase their visibility (as MaineDOT State Traffic Engineer Stephen Landry was quoted as recommending in the editorial) as well as additional delineators and paint to create temporary curb extensions that shorten crossings and further increase visibility.

Depending on the project, raised crosswalks, bollards, cones and sandbags may also be used to improve both pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

Please contact us if you know of a problematic location near your home, but in the meantime, here are three easy ways you can decrease the number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities as a driver: Slow down, be aware of your surroundings — including sidewalks and shoulders, and always yield to vulnerable users.

You can also get involved with the coalition’s Slow Me Down campaign or become a member at bikemaine.org.

Matt Sulem

Westbrook

Voters decide who wins the election

We the people of the United States need to hear our elected leaders in Congress and our Supreme Court Justices speak up for the peaceful transition of power that is enshrined in and protected by our Constitution.

In the Aug. 19 White House press conference, when asked by a reporter if the president was saying that he will not accept the results of this November’s election unless he wins, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany asserted that “The president has always said that he’ll see what happens and make a determination in the aftermath.”

Someone needs to remind the president that he is not a king, this is not an autocracy, and it is clearly not his call to make, no matter what the aftermath of this election.

I believe the repeated disinformation and unsubstantiated claims being broadcast concerning voter fraud reveals the president’s own efforts to “rig” the election. Recent news about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report — which includes factual evidence of collusion on the part of the Trump campaign with Russian oligarchs and operatives in 2016, and the warnings that this same interference continues — puts us all on alert that our election needs to be secured against influences by foreign adversaries. This administration and the current Republican-controlled Senate have refused to address this issue.

These whispers and warnings that Trump believes he is the one who has the power to decide whether or not to accept the outcome of the election need to be outed and smacked down now.

Laura Lander

Harpswell

Confidence in Curry 

I have known and worked with Chip Curry in a variety of different capacities for more than ten years. The one thing that has impressed me the most about Curry, and what makes me believe he is the person that we need in Augusta, is that no matter how crazy his life has been, no matter how busy he is, he has always stopped and actively listened and offered to help when possible.

Curry is one of those rare people that puts everyone before himself. He is tireless and I am confident he will relentlessly work for everyone in Waldo County. When it comes to the issues that impact our county the most — a sustainable economy, affordable healthcare, the natural environment and accessible education for all ages – I am confident that Curry has the experience and ability to bring the many voices of our county to Augusta and to find the right solutions that are best suited for all of us.

Stephen Brimley

Belfast