Testimony on LD 1422 An Act To Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy

To: Senator Brian Langley, Representative David Richardson, Chairs, Members, Education Committee
From Gail Marshall, Mount Desert, Maine

Re: LD 1422, An Act To Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy

I am serving my ninth year as a school board member from the town of Mount Desert. Mount Desert is part of the Mount Desert Island Regional School System. (AOS 91). Throughout my tenure I have served in many leadership positions. I am currently a member of our Legislative Subcommittee.

I take a position neither for nor against this bill. Our board considered this bill and also took no position at this time.

As laudable as the goals of this legislation are, I wish to flag our concern that this bill presents a large array of very tight timeframes and highly ambitious benchmarks in a manner that is reminiscent of many other pieces of sweeping educational mandates emanating from Augusta and/or Washington in the past decade or so.

On MDI we are not reluctant adopters. We do not hesitate to move on our own initiative to innovate and improve. For example, we had a system of our own learning results before the state adopted its system. We enacted local area assessments just before they were abandoned by the State. We still have them. You can’t graduate from our schools without meeting portfolio requirements, or without successfully presenting a senior exhibition. We were early providers of laptops through high school. We are hard at work on implementing core standards and standards based assessments throughout our system.

Despite our “can do” attitude, and our tax base that allows us latitude that many others do not enjoy, even we would be hard pressed to meet many of the requirements of this bill, especially when they are coupled with initiatives we already have underway.

Please do not allow your desire to improve our education systems get so far ahead of our resources, our personnel, our students and our communities or of the State’s ability to provide critically important comprehensive scaffolding and financing that “failure” or abandonment becomes virtually inevitable. Those sorts of experiences that far too many of our teachers and administrators bear scars from, often have been a significant part of the problem our schools face, not the solutions they were originally intended to be.

Thank you.