Like other Yarmouth residents, I was not surprised by the straight-A grades the Maine Department of Education bestowed on our schools. My daughter was the beneficiary of a challenging, caring education in our school system, and my stints as a substitute teacher have given me even more reason to crow about the quality of our teachers, staff and curriculum.
However, before we let this supposed recognition of superiority go to our heads, remember this: the grading system was not just simple, it was simplistic. It left out many of the factors that are the hallmark of good education in the 21st century: science, social studies, creative thinking, computer skills, teacher training, etc. The grades also directly mirror the economic well-being of a community. Yarmouth is one of the fortunate places in Maine, where most (but certainly not all) of our residents can afford to pay for what it takes to make a school great. Other Maine communities struggle to do more with less, and the governor’s proposed budget, which would slash local revenues by eliminating revenue sharing, shift costs of teacher retirement funds to towns, etc., will make it even harder for them and Yarmouth to keep up the good work.
Instead of shaming good schools with a flunking grade, let us celebrate what they are doing right, and give them the resources they deserve.
Rep. Janice Cooper