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Maine: Working in Education in Maine

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Curriculum and Instruction

A study by the National Center on Education Statistics compares state educational standards for student achievement. According to the study, Vermont and Maine tied for fifth place among the states with the highest standards for fourth-grade reading proficiency in 2007. Maine's learning standards, Maine's Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction, identify the knowledge and skills that students need for work, higher education, personal fulfillment, and citizenship. They form the framework for curriculum and instruction.

Maine is one of 15 states that lowered one or more of its educational standards in recent years. It is one of only three states that lowered standards in both fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math between 2005 and 2007. States lowered their standards to avoid sanctions under No Child Left Behind.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the mean annual salary of instructional coordinators in Maine was $47,550 in May 2008, which is lower than the nationwide mean of $59,780.

Teacher's Aides

Maine is one of only ten states to require certification for teacher's aides and other paraprofessionals who have instructional duties. In addition, Maine is also one of twelve states that have requirements for paraprofessionals that are stricter than federal requirements under No Child Left Behind. The estimated mean annual salary for teaching assistants in Maine was $27,530 in May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nationwide mean was $23,560.

Technology Education

Maine is the only state that provides laptops to every public school student. Since 2002, the State of Maine has provided every middle school student and teacher with a laptop computer, totaling about 40,000 students and 6,000 teachers. The Maine Department of Education is now expanding the 1:1 digital laptop initiative into all public high schools, adding 64,000 laptops to the program.

The laptop initiative has achieved many markers of success. Teachers are able to provide more up-to-date information and engage students in exploring subjects in greater depth. Students are more interested in their schoolwork and write more and better. Despite initial concerns about students' ability to responsibly care for their laptops, there has been very little damage or loss.

As an example of how laptops are expanding learning opportunities for Maine students, middle school children are using their laptops to study the environment. Science classes have joined with a Maine research group to collect and record data on invasive plants and develop a website, giving students a hands-on learning project with real-world application.

Even with Maine's unique laptop program, the Center for Digital Education ranked Maine last among the states for its policies and practices that support online learning.

Technology education is a teacher shortage area for Maine, qualifying technology teachers for various financial incentives such as student loan reduction or dismissal.

Educational Management

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the estimated mean annual wage for preschool and childcare administrators in Maine was $40,400 in May 2008, lower than the nationwide mean of $46,370. For elementary and secondary administrators in Maine the mean was $68,490, compared to the nationwide mean of $86,060.

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