LePage unveils controversial education proposals

February 8, 2012

SERUMTRUTH, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen unveiled legislative efforts involving education during the press conference that didn't happen at Somerset Career and Technical Center on Wednesday morning.

LePage and Bowen are introducing a series of bills for the 2012 legislative session that advance the work of designing an education system around corporate needs. The legislation aims to provide corporations access to the public monies that fund education..

The proposed legislation includes allowing corporations and religious organizations to begin absorbing the $2 billion in property taxes and state income taxes that currently go to Maine public schools. Another bill seeks to break the back of the local teacher union through a complex teacher evaluation system and through providing "alternate means" of achieving certification -- for those like of our governor who believe they are qualified to teach even though they haven't taken the requisite teacher training courses. For these "alternative pathway" teachers, the fingerprint test will also be optional -- so long as they can establish that they are members of the Republican party or get a Catholic priest to vouch for them, LePage said.

“This is a pretty ambitious set of bills, as you can see,” said Bowen.

“It’s all about corporate profits,” said LePage in a speech that focused on the importance of having a well-trained workforce that will make Maine attractive to corporate interests.

Stephen Bowen, in a rare moment of candor, talked about what had motivated the proposal. "It's time for a new educational paradigm," Bowen said. "The idea that kids in one town, the rich, and the poor, the white and the minority would all go to one school together, and be taught by real live human beings who each represent different points of view, some of them with a scientific basis, some of them even liberal. . . .. it's all too . . . . democratic and unpredictable. You could have kids listening to each others music or picking up the wrong ideas about our state heritage. You could have anything come out of that. You might even get social revolution.

"With the economy like this, where else in Maine can corporations turn for profits but to schools?" Bowen added. Bowen went on to explain that the different aspects of the plan will dovetail together nicely .

"The online learning initiative opens the door for the corporations; the voucher program funds the corporations and helps shore up the religious conservative vote; the teacher evaluation initiative will put a stake in the heart of the local teachers union, and the technical schools initiative will provide a place to put the kids that the private and religious schools don't want.

"As Governor LePage stated a few weeks ago," Bowen added, "If somebody can learn algebra while they are learning to weld a pipe, then that is a win-win for us and for the corporations.

"If the welding teacher has never taken algebra or teacher education classes, that's ok, too," said Bowen. "The important thing is that if we need welders. If we can get enough trained workers, we can get more corporations to move to Maine."

Teacher evaluation is just a politically correct way to break teachers unions, Bowen admitted. Maine teachers are already pretty good, he confessed. But the unions have got to go -- they're holding up privatization..

“Out of state interests such as the Koch Brothers are behind this 100 percent. We basically have a blank check in terms of goodwill from them. We need a two-tiered education system if we are to have a two-tier work force and a two tier society.” he concluded. "This initiative will help move us toward that goal."

[The above political satire speculates what LePage and Bowen might have said at today's press confence, had they been drinking truth serum instead of tea.]

Paul LePage and Stephen Bowen

"The idea that kids in one town, the rich, and the poor, the white and the minority would all go to one school together, and be taught by real live human beings who represent different points of view -- some of them with scientific basis, some of them or even liberal. It's all too . . . democratic."

Appalled by LePage.com

"Thinking Beyond Paul LePage"