Robbie Feinberg

Education News Producer

Robbie grew up in New Hampshire, but has since written stories for radio stations from Washington, D.C., to a fishing village in Alaska. Robbie graduated from the University of Maryland and got his start in public radio at the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Before arriving at Maine Public Radio, he worked in the Midwest, where he covered everything from beer to migrant labor for public radio station WMUK in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Ways to Connect

In his budget proposal released earlier this year, Gov. Paul LePage vowed to drastically transform how schools are funded. The most notable change was the removal of roughly $40 million that the state gives local districts to help pay the salaries of administrators.

In his State of the State address, LePage hammered home the point that he thinks there are far too many administrators in Maine’s schools. Most notably, he pointed to the more than 100 school superintendents across the state.

E'nkul Kanakan / Portland Empowered (courtesy photo)

For someone new to Maine, particularly if they have come from another country or speak a different language, education is an opportunity. But it can be intimidating. The academics are challenging, but what’s tougher for many students and their families is the language barrier.

Courtesy of Page Lennig

It’s budget season for school districts across the state, which are grappling with a funding proposal from Governor Paul LePage that would cut state funding by about $20 million compared to last year, and shift administrative costs back to the schools.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland's Board of Education approved three resolutions Tuesday night that members hope will ease fears among students and teachers around immigration and politics.

Caroline Losneck / Maine Public/file

Tonight, the Portland Board of Education will hold a hearing on resolutions that supporters say are intended to protect students from hate speech and to assure that teachers can speak freely about political issues in class.

University of Maine at Presque Isle

While more high school students in Maine are going on to college these days, they’re taking their time to graduate.

Educators are encouraged by news that Gov. Paul LePage intends to nominate a permanent education commissioner for the first time in more than a year.

Last week, LePage told the State Board of Education that he intends to nominate acting education commissioner Robert Hasson to the permanent position, which has been empty since 2014.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

A new initiative is aiming to boost Maine’s labor force by paying off workers’ student debt.

The Alfond Leaders program is a partnership between the Finance Authority of Maine and the Harold Alfond Foundation. Under the new three-year, $5.5 million program, about 150 Maine employees in the science, technology, engineering and math fields will be eligible to receive up to $60,000 to pay off student loans.

Alfond Foundation Chairman Greg Powell says the idea of the program is to keep Maine’s graduates in the state, and potentially lure workers away from other states as well.

The word “expulsion” probably brings to mind disruptive high-schoolers. But in fact, many children are expelled as early as preschool. New research shows that in Maine, nearly a quarter of childcare centers have expelled a child in the past year.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

With the recent barrage of storms canceling school across Maine, district officials are weighing their options on how to make up so many snow days.

Most schools build in about five snow days into the school calendar. Unfortunately, many districts, including Portland and South Portland, have already hit that limit.

South Portland Superintendent Ken Kunin says the upcoming storms could wind up extending the school year into the last week of June.

“We really don’t wanna go there if we don’t have to. But we’ll take it if it comes,” he says.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

While school funding is at the center of public debate right now, educators are wrestling with another problem, too: how to measure student success.

A state education task force wants Maine to increase teacher pay, expand preschool programs and change the state’s funding formula to improve education.

The state’s blue ribbon education commission laid out those recommendations in a report adopted on Wednesday. The report also includes recommendations to explore a statewide teacher contract as well as create new programs to recruit teachers for poor and rural schools.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

It’s a two-word phrase that’s music to the ears of schoolkids across Maine: “snow day”. The rush to catch the bus turns instead to plans of sledding, making snowmen or just relaxing.

Portland’s superintendent is pledging to protect the district’s students following an alleged hate crime targeting four students last week.

In an open letter, Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana condemned the alleged attack on four Casco Bay High School students on Friday.

Lead Teacher Beverly Foss teachers her first-grade class at Athens Elementary School.
File photo: Robbie Feinberg/Maine Public

Once again, school funding is under heavy scrutiny in the state Legislature. Voters passed a surtax in November to increase state education funding.

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