Why some students and educators aren’t happy with how Maine dumped an online learning program
The administration of Gov. Janet Mills recently said it will end a small program that provides free, universal access to online Advanced Placement classes particularly valuable for high school students who want to attend out-of-state colleges.
The state is pushing early college options, but that isn’t a perfect substitute for the highly transferable Advanced Placement credits.In an email, Makin cited a difficulty in getting information about the AP4All program, which has run for 10 years and is administered under a contract with the University of Maine at Fort Kent. In comparison, she said there is “robust data” about early college programming in the university and community college systems, which 6,300 students participated in last year.
Advanced Placement — or AP — classes are created by the College Board, a nonprofit that administers standardized tests. If students get through a class and score high enough on a test, they get credits toward higher education that are widely accepted across the country.
Mills, a Democrat, sharply increased education funding in her two-year budget proposal earlier this year and Makin said the department wants to increase funding for early college programs while creating a “web resource” that better points students to those programs.
However, those early college offerings are most valuable to students who will continue on in the state university or community college systems. They aren’t necessarily transferable to other colleges like AP credits are.
“It’s hard enough to get into these schools and rural Maine kids don’t need any more barriers,” he said.
The program was canceled without input from its administrators and a Republican legislator wants to consider alternatives to its cancellation. The decision to cancel the program was a quick one, with Scott Voisine, the dean of community education at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, saying it was done without consulting him. When Makin was unveiled as Mills’ education commissioner nominee, she said “students are so much more than their test scores.”
One of the students who used the AP4All program is now at New York University and Collins said it was “very, very frustrating” to hear it was being canceled without counselors’ input.
Through a spokeswoman, Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, the co-chair of the Legislature’s education committee, said the panel hasn’t reviewed the decision and referred questions about the program to the department, which administers the program through a contract that lawmakers would have to find funding for if they want to preserve it.
Today in A-town
Bills allowing most Maine employees access to paid sick leave and eligible MaineCare recipients access to abortions are scheduled to be voted on today in the Senate and House. The House will hold votes this morning on a bill from Rep. Jay McCreight, D-Harpswell, bill to require the state Department of Health and Human Services to provide abortion care coverage for low-income and eligible MaineCare recipients. It would also mandate that private insurance carriers include abortion services in their prenatal coverage plans. The controversial proposal, which seeks to supplant a possible federal ban on abortion funding by using state money to cover the cost, is opposed by Republicans and supported by Mills.
It’s one of several Democratic bills this session that seeks to equalize women’s access to sexual and reproductive health care. The health coverage committee is likely to vote this afternoon on another bill from Mills that seeks to increase the number of licensed medical professionals who can perform abortions in Maine. Tune in to the House here.
The Senate is also scheduled to vote this morning on an emergency bill from Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Harpswell, that would require a net carbon emissions impact study of the proposed 145-mile transmission line through western Maine to send HydroQuebec power from Canada to Massachusetts. Mills has said she opposes the bill, but it’s not clear whether she will veto it if it receives the needed two-thirds majority to pass in both chambers.
Other bills before the Senate include one from Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, that will require at least 30 percent of state employees to begin teleworking by 2030 in order to reduce vehicle carbon emissions. Others bills up for votes in the Senate include one from Rep. Barbara Cardone, D-Bangor, to exempt from arrest or prosecution anyone who seeks medical assistance for someone else experiencing a drug-related overdose, and another from Rep. Charlotte Warren, D-Hallowell, that ensure comprehensive access to feminine products in Maine’s county jails and correctional facilities. Listen here.
— A singer who lives in Maine lost a chance for a lifetime achievement award because of domestic violence allegations. Don McLean announced Monday that he would receive the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, presented by the Student Alumni Association of the University of California, Los Angeles. But the Portland Press Herald reports that the award was rescinded after the association was told of a 2016 domestic disturbance involving the singer and his now ex-wife.
Crown and down
The first big early question about the new royal is: What will they name him? I hope they go serious old school and dub him Canute or Aethelred the Unready II. If they want to be forward-thinking, Jamal has a nice ring to it, acknowledging the child’s American heritage.
Other key questions also emerge:
— Will he call the game in which people kick balls and flop on the ground “soccer” or “football?”
— Will the heirs who have been bumped down the line of succession by his arrival conspire against him? Keep an eye on James Windsor, aka Viscount Severn, mostly because that title just sounds diabolical.
— Most importantly, will the folks at Gelato Fiasco revive all the delicious British-themed flavors (flavours?) that they rolled out for royal weddings?
Welcome to the world, Prince Whatever. Here is your soundtrack. — Robert Long
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Long. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, click here to receive Maine’s leading newsletter on state politics via email on weekday mornings. Click here to subscribe to the BDN.
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This article originally appeared on www.bangordailynews.com.