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Governor's School Grading Draws Sharp Criticism

Grading System Flawed, Doesn’t Help Schools Succeed

Read "Maine's Flawed Grading System"

The Department of Education officially released its "grade" for each school district in the state today. In doing so, the DOE created a system which does not accurately reflect the achievement in our public schools and our students in the state. Instead, the system based on standardized test scores and high school graduation rates, pits wealthy communities against poorer ones, giving lower grades to our less financially advantaged students.

Upon review of the grades this analysis becomes clearer—schools in wealthier communities in Maine fared far better under the Governor’s grading scheme, while schools in areas with higher indicators of poverty were the ones branded with the majority of failing grades. For example, 88% of the elementary schools receiving an "F" grade had more than half of their students eligible for free or reduced lunch.

When we grade students and schools based on poverty levels in the community we are taking away the future. Our children should not limited by an arbitrary grade that has no validity and that is handed down by a system that continues to fail our poorest students and families. Until we all provide the necessary supports for our students to come to school having had a meal, seen a doctor, and being given preschool opportunities we cannot compare towns from poorer parts of the state with those from wealthy ones. The comparison is simply not fair.

The MEA knows you work hard each and every day to make sure your students succeed. Please do not let this grade, whether it is an A or an F change how you feel about your school. Instead the MEA would like to congratulate you on the hard work you do each day in continuing to put your students first, despite yet another attack on public education.

To understand how poverty affects the grades, please take a quick look at the chart below, highlighting the impact of students eligible for free and reduced lunch. We encourage you to read the full MEA report which explains the complete bias in the grading system.

Free and Reduced Lunch Correlation with School Grades 


Gov. LePage and the Dept. of Education want to hear from you...

As you are all aware by now the Governor’s grading system has been released. During the unveiling of the flawed system the Governor and Education Commissioner encouraged people to call them to share their opinions of the system. Please feel free to share your thoughts with the Governor, reminding him that our public schools are providing a wonderful education for our students and a single snapshot of how students performed on a standardized test does not measure the success of any one school. It is clear, based on all the media coverage, the people have spoken—with the message that this grading system deserves an "F."

Tell the Governor what you think about the school grading system:

Phone: 207-287-3531 (TTY: Maine relay 711)

Fax: 207-287-1034

Send an e-mail to the Governor here

Request a Constituent Meeting with the Governor

Mailing Address:
Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001



In The News

On The Air:

Maine Releases Letter Grades For Schools - WGME 13

Governor Unveils School Grades - WCSH 6

LePage, Bowen Unveil New Grading System for Public Schools - WABI 5

Maine Schools' A-F Grading System Unveiled - WMTW 8

Three-Quarters of Maine Schools Receive a 'C' Grade or Less - WFVX 22


State Grades Most Maine Public Schools 'C' or Lower

Portland Press Herald:

Grading Quality, or Incomes?

Bill Nemitz: Like Our Governor, Letter Grades Too Simple

Schools Get Letter Grades, Call System Flawed

East End School, Hailed for Improvements, Stunned by 'F'

Our View: LePage's Education Policy Earns Him an 'F'

Kennebec Journal:

Report Cards Reinforce Wealth Effect, Experts Say

Administration Unveils School Grades; 'C' the Average for Central Maine Schools

Some Parents Find Grades Useful; Others are Skeptical

School Grades' Simplicity Broadens Impact

'I want the good schools to be rewarded,' says LePage

How the Grades are Calculated

Our Opinion: Grades Show Effect of Income Not School Quality

Bangor Daily News:

Three-Quarters of Maine Schools At, Below Average Under Controversial New State Grading System

The Tipping Point: LePage's School Grades Correlate Closely with Income

Grading System for Maine Schools is Uncompassionate, Unreliable

Sun Journal:

Maine Schools Average a "C" in New Grading System

School Grading Initiative has Become Politicized

MEA Benefits Trust

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