Maine Education Project

The Maine Education Project explores student-centered learning from early childhood through college and beyond. The project is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, which is working to encourage a transformation of public schools toward places that create learning opportunities to engage and inspire all students to meet challenging standards.

Spearheaded by Robbie Feinberg, education news producer, and Dave Boardman, education program coordinator, the project seeks stories about innovative learning in Maine’s classrooms and educational institutions and connects with the voices of students, educators and policymakers as they look at solutions to the challenges facing education today. We highlight the perspectives of students and educators, and provide curriculum resources for writing about education and finding success through our Raise Your Voice! initiative.

Have a story suggestion? Contact the team at MaineEducationProject@mainepublic.org.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Maine’s School Revolving Renovation Fund was established some 20 years ago to help districts face the challenges of fixing aging schools, which have made tough choices due to years of underfunding. But that fund has yet to reach its financial goals, and now has little money left.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Many of Maine’s school buildings were built more than 50 years ago, and they need a lot of work: asbestos and lead removal, new roofs, windows and doors. But in the face of budget cuts after the Great Recession, many schools have struggled to keep up with those maintenance needs, forcing some districts to make tough choices.

Maine’s State Board of Education approved a new kind of regional high school this week that would merge three existing schools and also bring in vocational programs, business training and higher education into one facility in northern Aroostook County.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

In the wake of the fatal school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, schools across Maine are taking steps to respond and increasing security measures.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

With aging buildings and changes in population, school districts around Maine are planning and building more modern campuses. But some of the projects have encountered an unexpected obstacle: a sharp increase in cost, as competition and a shortage of labor have led some project costs to increase by 30 percent or more.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Summer school is changing — it used to be the place where high schoolers made up failed classes, but some districts have doubled summer enrollment in recent years.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Teacher strikes in Oklahoma and West Virginia this year have put educators in the political spotlight, and some of that energy appears to have spread to Maine. After years of conflict over school funding and educational mandates, more than a dozen current and former teachers are running for office this fall.

With the same energy that she used to bring to her classroom, Jan Dodge is spending a Tuesday afternoon knocking on doors in her hometown of Belfast.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Four months ago, hundreds of students across Maine walked out of their schools, joining others across the country in memorializing the victims of the fatal school shooting in Parkland, Fla. and to advocate for gun control.

Maine Public

Students in Maine will no longer be required to graduate under new, "proficiency-based" diplomas.

Gov. Paul LePage Friday signed a bill into law repealing the state's diploma mandate, which originally went into effect six years ago.

Under the old law, Maine students, beginning in the class of 2021, would have been required to reach "proficiency" in up to eight subject areas in order to graduate. However, teachers and parents criticized the policy, saying it was too demanding for educators and wouldn't allow some students to graduate.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

As Maine's population has grown older, the number of school-aged children has declined, forcing some communities to close schools that have been social anchors for years. One recent school closure may serve to reflect the challenges faced by Maine's rural communities.

UNE.edu

Most students applying for admission to the University of New England will no longer need to submit standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT, beginning in the fall of 2019.

The Biddeford-based school follows in the footsteps of dozens of others that have adopted "test-optional" admissions policies over the past four years.

Dean of Admissions Scott Steinberg says UNE has found that high school grades predict college success far better than standardized tests.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Over the course of the past school year, we've followed the implementation of Maine’s proficiency-based diploma law through the lens of students and staffers at Oak Hill High School, near Lewiston. 

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

The University of Southern Maine has received a collection of nearly half a million maps — an estimated $100 million gift that is believed to be the largest in the history of the University of Maine System.

The collection of more than 450,000 rare maps comes from Dr. Harold Osher, a cardiologist from Portland. The Osher family has previously donated many maps to the university and helped establish the Osher Map Library in 1994.

Family spokesperson Glenn Parkinson said the Oshers hope the collection is used to enhance educational opportunities for local students.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Three years from now, high school seniors in Maine will have to demonstrate proficiency in math, English, science and other core subjects in order to graduate. 

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Across Maine, thousands of high school seniors are graduating and preparing for the next chapter in their lives. But for many, particularly students in rural Maine, the future is uncertain. Graduating seniors in the western Maine town of Rumford told Maine Public how they imagine their own futures, and whether that future might include returning to their hometown.

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