Portland Forum Focuses on School Accountability

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The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking public input on developing a new system of holding schools accountable and recognizing their success. 

The federal government is offering Maine, like all other states, a chance to develop its own system in place of what many now consider unrealistic and unfair requirements and negative labels in the current No Child Left Behind Act.

DOE will hold a public forum on December 14 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 250 of Casco Bay High School.  A second forum will take place in Bangor.  In addition, the public may participate in an online forum on December 13 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

DOE will submit a formal request for flexibility to the U.S. Department of Education under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen is asking educators, parents, students and anyone who has a stake in the education of Maine’s students to voice their views at one of the forums.

The department also is seeking feedback through an online survey and in an ongoing online discussion in which Bowen and other staff will participate.

In the absence of Congressional action to rewrite No Child Left Behind, about 40 states are taking advantage of the U.S. Department of Education’s offer of flexibility.  In exchange, the department is requiring that states:

  • Devise new systems for holding schools accountable and recognizing their success in a fair, accurate and constructive way; and
  • Develop and pilot systems for evaluating the performance of teachers and school administrators in a way that’s fair and promotes continued professional growth among educators.

At the forums and in the online survey, DOE will seek ideas on measuring school and teacher effectiveness and crafting a system that holds systems accountable and rewards success.