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LePage unveils 'Parents Bill of Rights' in new education plan

Republican candidate for governor, Paul LePage, unveiled his plan for schools in Maine on Monday.

LEWISTON, Maine — On Monday, Republican candidate for governor, Paul LePage, unveiled his 'Parents Bill of Rights' and his plans to support students, teachers, and parents if re-elected as governor.

LePage broke it down into six categories:

  • Back to basic educational curriculum which focuses on test scores and math, reading, writing, and science.
  • Transparency in the curriculum by making sure student curriculums are easily available to parents and taxpayers.
  • Real Public Participation at the Local Level which encourages parents to get involved and live streaming all school board meetings so people can listen in real time.
  • Reforming the State Board of Education with parents and students being involved.
  • Establishing a Parents Governing Board to meet and provide feedback to the Department of Education and the Governor's office.
  • True School Choice by allowing parents to choose whether to send their children to public school, private school, charter school, religious school, or vocational school.

LePage has been a longtime supporter of school choice.

"We want to make sure that the money follows the student. It's critical that the parents, the kids, choose where their kids are going to go to school," LePage said in an interview with NEWS CENTER Maine. "I don't care whichever school is best for the child to learn, the student to learn, is where we have to go."

He added that parents are not able to see what their children's curriculum is without filing a FOAA request, and he doesn't think that is right.

"The parents and the people of Maine have a right to know what's being taught in our schools and we need to go back to teaching our kids how to think, not what to think," he said.

LePage said that students are not often taught to think for themselves because schools are "left of center" now.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman, Drew Gattine, responded to LePage's plan in a statement: 

“Paul LePage failed Maine parents and children for eight years. He underfunded public schools, proposed cutting funding for schools and child care even further, attacked and criticized teachers, went through multiple education commissioners (even suggesting appointing himself commissioner at one point), did little to combat food insecurity among Maine’s kids, and set the worst example for our children. There is a reason why Republicans and Democrats joined together in bipartisan unity time after time to reject LePage’s attacks on public education."

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