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Department News Release

March 21, 2012

Bowen lauds Ed Committee vote on teacher effectiveness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Contact:   David Connerty-Marin, 207-624-6880/831-3313

The Legislature’s Education Committee voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon in favor of LD 1858, a bill that would require schools to adopt teacher and principal evaluation systems.

“Of all the education bills this session, this one has the potential to positively impact education more than any other,” Bowen said. “The bill goes to the very heart of what we know has the greatest impact on learning: the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders. The best curriculum and learning materials in the world are of no use to us unless we have effective educators in our schools. Supporting great teaching and school leadership is what this bill is all about.”

The Education Committee has supported efforts to promote improved standards for students and now follows suit with clearer standards for teachers. The Maine Department of Education will work with many groups to develop guidelines and standards for evaluation systems, but the systems themselves will be developed or adopted at the local level.

“I appreciate the give and take with the Maine Education Association and legislators,” Bowen said. “It made this bill better by underscoring its true purpose – to improve the ways in which we prepare, support, and evaluate teachers.”

The committee approved LD 1865, which enhances career and technical education, by a 10-1 vote earlier this week. Both bills are part of Gov. Paul LePage’s education agenda and will likely go before the full Legislature in the next week or two.

Two more bills are part of the Administration’s agenda. One deals with public and private school choice options, the other with allowing funding for religious schools.  Those measures will be discussed by the committee on Thursday.

Information about all four bills, including links to the bill language and the commissioner’s testimony, can be found online at http://www.maine.gov/doe/first.

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