Opinion

Return control to schools

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To the Editor;
Thank you to the Bangor Daily News for the recent editorial on LD 1666, which the Legislature just passed to make proficiency-based diplomas an option for Maine schools, rather than a mandate. This would allow Maine schools a little more local control, rather than having to serve another unwieldy state mandate. Districts could possibly prioritize their own agenda according to their local resources and needs, without having to dedicate all professional development and administrative time to this one topic.

The editorial expressed concern that without this mandate some schools would have higher expectations than others. Rest assured that changing this graduation requirement will not remove the Maine Learning Results or the other standards-based reforms passed over the last 20 years by the Legislature. Local systems can and should be trusted to use the standards that are in place to guide their practice, to appropriately challenge their students and to instill values that will serve them well in the workplace.

Mandating more and more sets of standards — such as adding the Common Core or adopting the NextGen standards — has become an expensive administrative game of standards chasing that does not serve our students. Likewise, if equal access to consistently high standards is a concern, then urge the Legislature and the governor to fund a quality education for all Maine students.

As a 25-year veteran teacher, I am eager to stop teaching the standards, in order to get back to teaching my students.

Sue Griffith
Parkman

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