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Emily Albee has taught Social Research in RSU 22 for 12 years. She is the 2022 Penobscot County Trainer of the 12 months and a member of the Maine Schooling Affiliation.
Serving and surviving as a public faculty trainer in Maine for 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic created innumerable challenges to beat and issues to unravel. Society was drastically reminded of the very important roles colleges and educators play offering college students equitable entry to tutorial and emotional help, meals, web, and general life stability. Regardless of the nationwide divisiveness about schooling, vitriol spewed in school board conferences, and requires curriculum censorship, educators continued to rise above the challenges and maintain schooling as their primary precedence for college students.
Moreover, our legislative and government management in Maine rose above the noise and distractions to safe three very important coverage victories for public schooling in Maine. There could also be points that also divide legislators however traditionally, we’ve got by no means seen politicians in Augusta come collectively like this to help our public colleges particularly throughout a particularly tumultuous interval. It’s time to spotlight and have a good time these insurance policies that required bipartisan compromise, management, and the sensible dedication to schooling.
After a 17-year effort, the state lastly achieved its 55 % state funding aim for colleges for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 faculty years. Correctly funded colleges permit for the event and complete implementation of studying for our twenty-first century learners. This monetary funding is an enormous image funding for the infrastructure and improvement of Maine to coach the following technology of progressive thinkers and drawback solvers. This enables colleges to lastly shift away from the imposed expectation on educators to, “do extra with much less.”
The 55 % state funding of colleges is way from excellent, and we all know we should do extra particularly for communities combating property tax will increase, reassessment, rising housing costs and common housing uncertainty. Voters of Maine established this aim by means of a statewide poll initiative in 2004 (and reaffirmed the aim by means of a poll referendum in 2016) and legislators lastly met it.
The not too long ago enacted “$40K The First Day” is a legislation requiring all lecturers in Maine to make a minimal of at the very least $40,000 their first 12 months of instructing. This coverage victory begins to deal with the wage inequities throughout the state the place disparate instructing salaries have lengthy hindered communities from recruiting and retaining lecturers. This coverage additionally opens the door on the negotiation desk to make sure veteran educators proceed to be compensated appropriately with aggressive salaries as we face unprecedented numbers of educators leaving the classroom.
We all know that lecturers’ working circumstances are the scholars’ studying circumstances. The beautiful injustice of passionate and high quality lecturers selecting between staying within the classroom or switching to different professions to pay their payments and help their households is starting to be addressed.
Our legislators completed an enormous coverage victory for fairness in schooling by permitting all college students in Maine to obtain free breakfast and lunch. College students who’re hungry can not be taught.
The defining elements of what constitutes battle for households are ever-changing particularly through the pandemic. For many years, the shifting goal of socioeconomic standing and revenue ranges because the figuring out issue for supporting college students in want created one other barrier to pupil success. Our legislators acknowledged loads of our college students wanted additional assist they usually offered entry to free meals for all college students and offered the funding essential to execute this system with out additional rising property taxes.
We owe our state legislators and Gov. Janet Mills gratitude and a spherical of applause for these accomplishments they achieved for our colleges. The journey is simply starting and it’s time to proceed the coverage work for our twenty-first century learners.