HomeSchool Reform NewsMaine Parents, Educators Face New Learning Challenges Amid Pandemic

Maine Parents, Educators Face New Learning Challenges Amid Pandemic

By Sarah Downey


The complexities of remote learning during the pandemic have led many parents to search for other education options – but in Maine, the options are more limited than in many other states.

“So many parents are unhappy with their local school district’s response to the pandemic,” Jacob Posik, director of communications at the Maine Policy Institute, told The Center Square by email.

“Hybrid learning models keep parents out of work and hurt our economy when it is perfectly safe for children to attend school in person,” he said. “In Maine, you’re required to attend school in your local district unless your town does not operate its own schools – that’s the only way Maine families get a choice in their education.”

Posik noted that the state has restrictions on how many students attend virtual charter schools.

“Gov. [Janet] Mills and her allies in the Legislature passed laws before the pandemic that – for legitimately no good reason – permanently capped the number of students who can enroll in virtual charter schools,” Posik said. “They also made permanent the cap of 10 on the number of charters allowed to operate in Maine. How do they feel about that decision today? How do they feel about limiting parental choice before a pandemic that has completely upended our education system? The governor and the majority in the legislature are more focused on pleasing the Maine Education Association than they are providing real solutions for Maine parents and schoolchildren.”

The cancellation or limitation of sports and other extracurricular activities has also been challenging.

“Parents are concerned for their child’s education and their social and emotional well-being. How school districts will spend CARES Act money is the last of their worries – unless the money is being spent to kpaneep their schools open five days a week,” Posik said.

The governor has allocated roughly $330 million of the $1.25 billion that Maine received in CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funding to Pre-K through grade 12 schools, the Portland Press Herald reported. State officials are urging Congress to extend the Dec. 30 deadline by which the money must be spent.


Originally posted on The Center Square. Republished with permission.


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