Introduction - In as much as it is possible to report, this was a “regular” week in the legislature as we more fully engaged in referring bills to committee and then working in committee.
Please click on these links to read the House Calendars.
Bills this Week - No major discussions in the House.
I did have two calls from constituents about “bills in the works.” I’ll be sure to keep the following two links active so that readers can find bills of concern and see where they are in the progress of discussion.
Link to Directory of Bills
You are welcome to check the calendar to the left or to click the link below.
This week in the Education Committee -
In the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee this week, the most notable activity was on Thursday for a work session on two bills.
After some discussion, the group voted to approach LD32 - An Act to Increase the Size of Grants under the Maine State Grant Program. Essentially the bill seeks to move the minimum grant amount from $1,000.00 to $1500.00. The bill seeks to help students in higher education with some of their expenses, and it is reasonable to claim that the threshold amount should be increased.
The second bill, LD43 - “Resolve to Establish the Task Force to Study Higher Education Attainment and Completion Goals” - was tabled after a long discussion regarding whether the State of Maine should be setting goals on educational attainment. While we did in fact set a goal of 90% for secondary education some years ago, some members of the committee felt that setting a goal for higher education may not be important.
On this issue, I’d beg to differ on two points. First, we know that we need a trained workforce in the future and that without this trained workforce, the State of Maine will far short of having enough people to do the work by 2030. Second, we know the impact of post-secondary training or school. The impact is huge.
See this report for more information.
Higher Education -
The value of a public education is a core concept to the American way of life. That we would endanger or abridge that right to an education, or our responsibility in providing that education, is incomprehensible to me.
We also know that education and employment are changing. If they don’t change in some kind of syncopation, then the gap in employability increases. Yes, perhaps unfortunately, the job market for barrel stave makers has decreased. We need skilled and trained workers to meet the needs of the future. As a teacher, I always asked “What would Ben Franklin need to know to be successful today?”
Placing a person who has no experience whatsoever in the public schools, who has never attended a public school, and whose children did not attend a public school, in charge of the national education effort is nonsensical.
As always, I'm interested in your comments and suggestions, and please forgive any unintentional typos or errors.