Maine Gov. Paul LePage recently spoke out against the increasingly unpopular federal education standards set forth in the Common Core program. Though his state has subjected students to this curriculum for years, LePage cited the marked decline in performance among kids in a nearby state as the catalyst behind his recent change of heart.
He lamented the fact that Massachusetts had “the number one education system in America prior to adopting Common Core,” a ranking for which the state has since dropped to seventh.
Offering some advice to leaders in that state, the Republican noted that “maybe it would be better going back to what they had before.”
If the program has such a deleterious on that state, he reasoned, it could easily cause similar damage to Maine’s educational system.
“First of all,” he explained in a recent WABI interview, “there is always a better way. And I no longer support Common Core; and I say that because we have been in Common Core for several years here in Maine.”
Declaring his intention, if reelected, to continue advancing his state’s schools, LaPage noted that finding a more appropriate path toward that goal is imperative.
“We already have a great work ethic,” he said. “Why not improve on it? And so I see the more we challenge our children here in Maine, the tougher standards that we have, the better they will perform.”
Even LePage’s Democrat rival has expressed a need to allow local schools the freedom to determine how best to teach students in their schools.
“I think that we need to have some standards,” Mike Michaud said, “but we got to allow the flexibility at the municipal level.”
States across the nation have dropped out of the program in recent months as governors realize the input they initially thought they would have in the development process had largely been usurped by federal bureaucrats. One candidate in the Maine gubernatorial race, however, continues to champion the Common Core system.
“This is not some kind of communist plot to take over America’s schools,” Independent Eliot Cutler said. “This is really a professionally developed effort to make sure our kids get educated.”
Photo Credit: Facebook/Paul LePage, Maine’s Governor
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BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.