Maine Education Project

The Maine Education Project explores student-centered learning from early childhood through college and beyond. The project is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, which is working to encourage a transformation of public schools toward places that create learning opportunities to engage and inspire all students to meet challenging standards.

Spearheaded by Robbie Feinberg, education news producer, and Dave Boardman, education program coordinator, the project seeks stories about innovative learning in Maine’s classrooms and educational institutions and connects with the voices of students, educators and policymakers as they look at solutions to the challenges facing education today. We highlight the perspectives of students through our Raise Your Voice! initiative.

Have a story suggestion? Contact the team at maineeducationproject@mainepublic.org.

Brian Bechard / Maine Public

Fifteen years ago, Maine launched an ambitious experiment to give every 7th- and 8th- grader in the state their own device, under a new program called the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. Maine was the first state to try such an expansive program, and experts say it’s still the largest program of its kind. The results of the program vary from district to district, with some teachers adopting the technology and others still resisting it today.

Brian Bechard / Maine Public

After 15 years, Maine's program to provide technology to every 7th- and 8th-grader is changing. A new structure puts more responsibility and control in the hands of local districts.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

When former Gov. Angus King began an effort to give every 7th- and 8th-grader a laptop in 2001, one of the goals was equity, a way to ensure that students have access to the same kind of technology whether they live in Cumberland, Washington or Oxford County.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Head into any 7th- or 8th-grade classroom in Maine, and you’ll see something you won’t see in any other state: every student holding a laptop. The free laptops, provided under Maine’s Learning Technology Initiative over the past 15 years, have been expanded to most high schools, as well. But has it changed learning?

Robin Fleck / Auburn School Department

The issue of mental health is generating more and more discussion in Maine schools. Studies have found that it’s of particular importance to refugee and immigrant students, who have often experienced trauma, both in their home countries and as as they resettle in a new culture.

Thomas College

This month, college seniors from across Maine will walk across the stage to accept their diplomas — most after four or more years of classes. For more and more students, however, graduation day will come much sooner, a trend designed to make college more appealing and affordable.

Every year, kids in Maine schools have to take all kinds of standardized tests, each with its own acronym — MEA, SAT, NWEA. Students who are still in the process of learning English have to take a test called the ACCESS for ELLs, or “English language learners,” which gauges English proficiency in other subjects, such as science and math.

Maine’s standard for this test is the highest in the country, and some teachers believe it’s hurting students emotionally and academically.

Courtesy United Technologies Center

On both the state and national level, there has been a call for increased emphasis on career and technical education, or CTE. The intent is to teach more students skills such as business management, manufacturing and computer science.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Stearns High School in Millinocket made national headlines six years ago for how it responded to declining enrollment and a shrinking budget — it decided to bring in students from other countries through the F-1 visa program to fill in the gaps.

A new report finds that students in Maine are restrained and secluded within their schools approximately 13,000 times per year. Educational advocates want to see reforms at the state level to bring those numbers down.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Right now, high school seniors around Maine are waiting nervously for their acceptance letters from colleges. And their chances depend in part on grades.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public file photo

Under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, the federal Department of Education would see a drastic cut in almost every area except for one: it would add more than $1 billion in funding for “school choice.” That new emphasis has many educators in rural Maine concerned.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

In classrooms, there has long been an assumption that students need to be still, calm and attentive to learn. But more and more, researchers are finding that attitude could actually be harming many students.

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.

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