Robbie Feinberg

Education News Producer

Robbie grew up in New Hampshire, but has since written stories for radio stations from Washington, DC, 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

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.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public file

Only about 60 percent of Maine public school students are considered “proficient” in science. Elementary and middle schoolers devote less than two hours a week to the subject, and barely half of middle schools have lab stations or supplies. But a new effort from some Maine schools seeks to help students by actually eliminating standalone science and social studies classrooms.

The basic school schedule hasn’t changed much from 10 or 20 years ago. Students still go from, say, math class in one period to English class in another. Then to science, social studies and on and on.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Over the past 15 years, Portland Public Schools have undergone a major transformation. While enrollment has fallen, the percentage of black and African youth has increased by more than 150 percent, due to an influx of refugees and immigrants.

That presents new challenges for educators, but the district has adopted a new approach to help make schools more welcoming to students of color.

The Maine Department of Education is offering more than $3 million in grants to encourage schools to consolidate and share services between districts.

In a statement, Acting Education Comissioner Robert Hasson says the grants will be used to create new models for schools to share services. The department says that could include districts sharing teachers, maintenance contracts or technical education centers.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

One of the biggest stories of this election cycle was the rise of “fake news” — false news stories that look real but aren’t. They often go viral on social media, and some say they helped influence the election.

While many social media sites are trying to stop the spread, Maine educators are stepping up, too, helping students differentiate between fact and fiction.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Many educators point to 9th grade as a crucial year for students. New studies show that freshmen have the lowest GPAs and lowest attendance of any high school grade level.

LEWISTON, Maine - Most of Maine's students are performing at grade level in science, but far fewer are proficient in Math and English, according to new statewide assessment data.

Newly released numbers from the Maine Department of Education show that last year, only about 38 percent of students rated as proficient in math on Maine's statewide assessment test. Fifty-one percent were at or above grade level in English and 61 percent met the state benchmark in science.

jariceiii / Flickr/Creative Commons

Ten years ago, Deer Isle-Stonington High School was considered one of the worst schools in the state, as measured by the dozens of students who were dropping out and heading to work on the water. But today, more students in this Down East fishing community are staying in school and graduating.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

With college trips, applications and financial aid deadlines approaching, the next few weeks will be stressful for many of Maine’s high school seniors.

Third-grade teacher Sara Wilder leading her class
Robbie Feinberg/Maine Public

Studies show young people in Maine have been exposed to some of the nation’s highest rates of adverse childhood experiences, such as drug abuse and violence at home. In schools, those experiences often lead to problems as students act out and are punished. One town in southern Maine is trying to change its approach to discipline and possibly change the community as well.

Courtesy Lewiston 21st Century Facebook page

How do you help a largely white teaching staff talk about race and culture with black students? That's a big question at Lewiston High School as the city's Somali population has grown to about 7,000.

Cape May County Library / Flickr

This week, we’ve been exploring why so many of Maine’s public schools can’t seem to find enough foreign language teachers. In his third and final report of the series, Robbie Feinberg takes us into one of these classrooms to see if technology could be the answer.

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