Maine Students Meet to Discuss School System Problems

 

Apparently, school students in Maine are just as worried about the state of their educational system as lawmakers are. Fifty students representing 13 different schools, gathered together at the Portland Public Library to discuss the issues of Maine’s educational system.

The meeting included a number of student-led presentations and in-depth discussions regarding ways to improve upon Maine’s education system, writes Nell Gluckman, who covered the event.

The students shared their experience about being discriminated against for having a learning disability or not being American born. One student had lived in the United States all of his life, but, because of his racial identity, was classified as not being fluent in English.

Several of Maine’s lawmakers attended and gave speeches, but the real focus of the meeting was for students to present what they saw as the major issues to the lawmakers. These issues included the cost of college, international standards, and programs for English learners and those with disabilities.

Soon, the students, who came together through an organization known as the Seeds of Peace, will be presenting  to state lawmakers on what they believe at the key findings of their time together.

Near the end of the meeting, the discussion turned to the new standards-based educational system that will be mandated in Maine’s schools starting in the fall of 2014. The new system will have pupils learn various skills in order to graduate from high school. This new system moves the emphasis away from the traditional and basic system of letter grades and credits.

The students wanted to know what would happen if a student does not meet the standard, how the new standards-based education will affect students with disabilities, and if a standards-based education might benefit only self-motivated students and leave behind everyone else.

The students would like to continue researching Maine’s educational problems every year, WMTW reports.

“’These are just kids talking about what they think it ought to be, what it should look like, what happened for them,” said Timothy Wilson, director of the Maine Seeds of Peace program.

Maine has been the center of much educational debate recently, from the Alfond Grant, which gives all babies born in Maine $500 towards their college fund, to the debate about publicly funded charter schools.