2017-05-12 Update

2017-05-14
Legislative Update

 

Happy Mother's Day


Introduction

We have fully entered that last eight week section of the legislative session.  Beginning next week, we begin having session on Wednesdays.  So, we begin to meet as legislators on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday - and then soon we meet in double sessions. 



House Calendars

   Tuesday, May 9, 2017

   Thursday, May 11, 2017

 

Bill Text -> Bill Text
 
Bill Status -> Bill Status

Testimony Link -> Bill Testimony
This is really a great resource as you can see all the testimony presented on any given bill.


Events Calendars -> Events



This week in the Education Committee


While there are many bills which go through the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, it seems important to explain and reflect on some.  Two bills were of note - a bill to allow guns to be carried in cars while picking up and dropping off a student, and a bill to allow students of legal age to carry guns on college and university grounds.  

In the first bill to permit guns in cars while picking up and dropping off a student at school, my concerns were with unintended consequences and liabilities.  What happens if the driver must park the car and enter the building? The gun is still in the car and even if locked and unloaded, people do make mistakes.  If something should happen, who pays that liability?  Is the price  of that liability worth the cost of that privilege?  I could not vote in favor of this bill.

In the second bill - the campus carry bill - certain provisions were very unclear.  Guns could not be carried in public places like dorms and classrooms - so how could a student actually carry a gun on campus as campus is really about dorms and classrooms.  Second, each university already has the right to set individual gun policies, so I had to question the very need for the bill. Third, some university systems allow students to leave guns with campus security - and in this way, students can go hunting after class and then return to school.  The need for the provisions went away when the realities of the current practices were explained. Again, I could not vote in favor of this bill.

Reflections

 

We have a system of standards for education in the state of Maine.  The Learning Results is our broad term used to represent how we have interpreted national standards.  Maine teachers and administrators have worked for years and years to examine, write, and refine these standards.

The current legislation concerning these learning standards provides for periodic review and adjustment.  

Yet, we have heard several bills this session on repealing the standards. This would drive the system backwards, wasting the time, effort and money of so many of our dedicated educators.  One proposal suggested we adopt/adapt Massachusetts standards - standards which were dropped by that state in 2009.  

Instead, can we work to fully understand our own standards, be sure that they are measured consistently, and revise them as needed.

Somehow, common sense is what we need to keep in focus.


As always, feel free to write to me and let me know your thoughts.



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