Education Working Group C2A THE BASICS Gov. Paul LePage recently downplayed the importance of teachers, calling them a “dime a dozen.” Voice your opposition to these comments and support efforts to assist new and existing teachers. THE ISSUE While speaking at a dedication ceremony for a new vocational center, LePage said that he valued vocational training more than traditional education and that mentors are needed more than teachers: “Because teachers are a dime a dozen, mentors are what we really need in our system to prepare the next generation to take over. It’s mentoring that’s more valuable.” His comments were carried widely in the press, including stories in the New York Times and Washington PostMaine and the rest of the nation is in the throes of a serious teacher shortage, according to the National Education Association. A 2016 survey of college freshmen found the lowest number of education majors in 45 years, with many respondents citing the low starting salaries for teachers as one reason they ruled out an education degree. Maine has the 41st lowest teacher salary in the nation, according to the Maine Education Association, and has a serious shortage of teachers in key subjects, including mathematics and special education. In response to LePage’s comments, a Maine teacher has created a fundraising campaign to support teaching scholarships at the University of Maine at Farmington. Mainers are asked to submit the name of a teacher who had a positive impact on their education. For each name submitted, $0.10 will be donated to an education scholarship at UMF. THE ACTION
  • To participate, simply visit the survey online, enter your name, the name of the teacher and where the teacher taught.
  • Want to share your thoughts on Gov. LePage’s comment or share your story as an educator? A letter to the editor is the perfect venue. Suit Up Maine’s LTE Project can help you draft and submit a letter to your local newspaper or to one of the statewide publications. Email for more information.
  • Want to respond directly to Gov. LePage’s comment? Contact information for phone, mailing address, email and fax can be found here.
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