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LETTER: New legislature offers hope for Charter Schools

To the Editor:

Governor-elect Paul LePage is a strong supporter of public charter schools, along with other forms of school choice. Since the elections also brought in a new majority in the Legislature, the Maine Association for Charter Schools (MACS) is optimistic that enabling legislation for public charter schools will be enacted in the upcoming legislative session, beginning in January.

The next step for MACS is to host a forum in mid-December for all interested groups to discuss the content of proposed legislation, building on the national model bill as adapted for Maine. (See the original bill, LD 1438, at www.mainecharterschools.org.)

Maine is one of only 11 states that do not allow charter schools. That is one reason Maine is ranked seventh from the bottom in terms of education reform and a factor in why Maine is not eligible for federal Race to the Top funding. The Maine Education Association strongly opposes charter schools, which would introduce competition into the state’s educational system.

A number of past opponents to charter schools were also re-elected, so we will continue our efforts to combat the lack of knowledge and misinformation about charter schools, and we will expand our grassroots education and support network through new regional groups led by Dorothy Havey and our new “Community Connectors.”

You can help by talking with people and getting them to sign up on our website as a friend and supporter of public charter schools. We are also looking for volunteers to host or help with small group meetings for existing or new regional support groups.

As always, informing your newly elected Senator and Representative about your support for charter schools and letting us know their response is important.

Roger W. Brainerd, MEd

Executive Director of MACS

Judith Denton Jones, PhD

Chair, MACS Board of Directors

Dorothy Havey

Community Organizer for MACS

Maine Association for Charter Schools

1018 Depot Street

Union, Maine 04862

macs@mainecharterschools.org

(207) 785-3071

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