The governor’s plan in a nutshell is to shrink (if not eliminate) public education in Maine. The strategy:
(1) Repeatedly denigrate public schools in order to create a negative public opinion of schools. Done.
(2) Concoct a “grading system” that will, by design and regardless of their actual performance, grade a sizable percentage of Maine schools as “D” and “F.” Done.
(3) Support legislation that opens the door to charter schools and online learning corporations. Done.
(4) Starve public schools financially by diverting public funds from public schools to private and virtual schools. (In progress).
(5) Create widespread budget crises in Maine towns by eliminating revenue sharing. (In progress).
(5) Advocate for “school choice” and use #2 above to drive enrollment — and financial support — from certain schools (mostly schools serving our neediest students in economically depressed parts of the state) and toward corporate virtual schools and charter schools. (In progress).
The irony is that if LePage gets his way, “choice” for many Maine families will be diminished rather than enhanced. Many rural schools will shrink or close outright and parents will be faced with transporting their kids to distant schools, enrolling them in an for-profit virtual schools, or moving to another area of the state. Kids from poor families, who already have too few choices, will have fewer choices still.