Legislative Update -
There’s no doubt that this was a crazy busy week. See the calendar for a listing of all the events - though I admit it was impossible to attend them all.
Look to the Calendar
at the left or go to Events
This week in the House -
Bill Text can be found using this link called Directory of Bills
Link to Bill Status
This week in the Education Committee
This week we had a work session on a bill I presented concerning testing of students in the state of Maine. I contend that testing students every year is counter productive and that we can assess student progress on an every other grade basis. In other works, we can adequately test students in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 - and I think about those years as big transition years - in other words, good times to see where students are at and then plan accordingly for the next year.
Alas, but then I did some research and found that my bill would invalidate federal support for education in Maine. Yearly testing is required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and is also a part of the Every Student Succeeds Act. So, this bill is illegal though perhaps well intentioned. And, but.. how have we made a deal that undoes us?
What really concerns me is the research I did - and anyone who knows me knows that I do research. I’ll be glad to share that research if anyone is interested.
There’s lots to say - but… essentially…
After 35 years of various testing programs, we are not able to point to a single successful practice or intervention. We are not able to track student progress across these 35 years, and essentially know no more today than we did when we began the practice.
Even if we viewed testing as a “snapshot” of student progress, we would be able to build a “photo album.” We can’t even do that.
So, what’s the point?
And - with such luck, a friend sent this link to explain what’s happening with last year’s testing. Check this out and then tell me we don’t have a problem.
Portland Press Herald - Last Year's Testing
This week, I had the chance to present a bill on improving the safety at petting zoos across the state. Based on the death of a 20 month old in 2015, the bill asks that petting zoos at county fairs and public gatherings provide signs warning parents of potential e-coli infections.
That seems reasonable. Nonetheless, there were comments about “parent responsibility” and “cost.” There was one pointed letter from a constituent.
I fully understand parental responsibility. I fully understand cost - but am forced to ask - “For the cost of a sign, a life is lost?” And then I must ask that ultimate question about priorities.