Eliot Cutler on Education



Try out Common Core standards before tweaking them

Asked whether they would support Common Core State Standards, which detail what public school students should know at the end of each grade through their high school graduation, LePage expressed skepticism of the guidelines he signed into law in 2011, attributing the fall of Massachusetts' public education system from one of the best systems in the country in part to the state's adoption of those standards.

{Opponents Mike Michaud & Eliot] Cutler both diverted attention from the standards, developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, which have been adopted by all but a few states.

"I think teachers are sick of being pushed from pillar to post," Cutler said, advocating trying those standards for a number of years before tweaking them.

At least three states have repealed using the Common Core standards and in April 2013, the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution opposing the standards [including a possible repeal in Maine].

Source: Bangor Daily News on 2014 Maine Gubernatorial debate , Oct 20, 2014

Cautious support for virtual charter schools

Cutler offered cautious support for virtual charter schools. When asked about the poor track record of some charter schools, Cutler said he supports virtual charter schools but does not oppose a one-year moratorium to "fully evaluate alternatives."

Cutler said he supports virtual charter schools in principle as a way to "apply new technologies to improve our kids' futures," and he praised the Maine Charter School Commission, saying it has rigorously vetted the companies that have applied.

"Along with other alternatives, virtual charter schools may improve outcomes for students and families for whom traditional instruction is not working and may add value to public education in Maine," Cutler said, adding that he read the Commission's report "carefully and with great concern."

"Both the commission and the Legislature are coming to grips with the question of how we make good cyber education alternatives available to as many Maine kids as possible," he said.

Source: Maine Sunday Telegram on 2014 Maine gubernatorial race , Mar 11, 2014

Earlier schooling; longer school year; more school funding

Every child in Maine deserves the opportunity to learn at a great public school. We can ensure the future prosperity of Maine by focusing on educating our children and empowering their teachers and principals. We must improve and expand early childhood education, extend the school calendar by 10 days, encourage parental and community participation, and fix school funding, because the quality of the schools shouldn't be based on what zip code you live in.
Source: 2014 gubernatorial campaign website, CutlerForMaine.com , Dec 31, 2013

Pay it Forward, Pay it Back: tuition-free college

Even though Maine's students graduate from high school at among the highest rates in the country, too few go on to study in our universities and community colleges. We've allowed tuition to rise to 13% higher than the national average. Making higher education in Maine more affordable is a sure-fire way to broaden opportunity. We should consider implementing "Pay it Forward, Pay it Back," a plan to create a fund to support tuition-free post-high school education for Maine high school graduates.
Source: 2014 gubernatorial campaign website, CutlerForMaine.com , Dec 31, 2013

State funding, not local property taxes, for public schools

Maine's national leadership position in public education has been squandered, and we are losing too many of our young people to other states.
  • Yet we have failed to stabilize state funding for public schools. Instead, we have shifted the funding burden to local property taxes, leaving communities not only short of what they were promised, but in many cases stretched beyond their limits. We rely excessively, as a result, on highly regressive local property taxes. That is inequitable, and it denies opportunity to far too many Maine children.
  • We have failed to reform and re-structure pre-K-12 education in ways that will reward good teachers, encourage innovation, and provide incentives for cost-effective collaboration among cities, towns and school districts.
  • And we have failed to put in place a program of early childhood education that virtually every ounce of available data indicates will save Mainers hundreds of millions of dollars.
    Source: A State of Opportunity, by Eliot Cutler, p. 3 , Dec 31, 2013

    State funding for public charter schools

    1. Accelerate Early Childhood Education: All children in Maine should receive appropriate developmental screening and assistance before they enter kindergarten.
    2. Provide Greater Rewards for Better Teaching and More Innovation: Good, effective teachers don't get paid enough.
    3. Increase Time in School: At 175 days, Maine currently has one of the shortest school calendars in the nation. We should extend the academic calendar by a total of 10 days.
    4. Preserve Community Schools... To Help Preserve Communities: School district consolidation according to an ill-advised and short-sighted set of criteria was one of our biggest mistakes.
    5. Fix School Funding to Create Opportunity for All Maine KidsPublic charter schools are an important addition to our state's education options. The State of Maine made a commitment to fund 55% of the costs of elementary and secondary education. Maine has never kept its promise. The state's share has slipped below 45%.
    Source: A State of Opportunity, by Eliot Cutler, 55-59 , Dec 31, 2013

    Merge colleges into one system to avoid balkanization

    An increasingly expensive public system of post-secondary education has both dis™couraged many graduating high school seniors from continuing their education in Maine and has driven more high school seniors to colleges and universities outside Maine, taking knowledge and innovation with them. This is unacceptable.

    Part of the problem is money, but there's more to it than that. Maine's problems also flow from a balkanized system of public higher education management, one that dis™courages cooperatio and too often serves only the narrowest interests. Net expendi™tures for public higher education are low in Maine in comparison to the rest of the nation, yet Maine has the one of the nation's highest non-instructional payrolls relative to instructional payrolls.

    We should start by merging our university and college systems into one system that costs less to operate and consequently makes available more money to invest in actual education.

    Source: A State of Opportunity, by Eliot Cutler, p. 59-60 , Dec 31, 2013

    Other governors on Education: Eliot Cutler on other issues:
    ME Gubernatorial:
    Michael Michaud
    Paul LePage
    ME Senatorial:
    Angus King
    Scott D`Amboise
    Susan Collins

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    Page last updated: Jul 12, 2017