LePage would be awful for education

Creationist Republican candidate for Maine governor Paul LePage has some terrible ideas on education. Last week he made this risible suggestion:

“Our program is going to offer high school students a choice — you can go four years at high school and get a diploma or go five years and get an (associate’s) degree,” he said. “We’re going to raise the standard for education in the state of Maine. We need to get our best and brightest out there and educated at the lowest possible cost.”

If I may – lol.

Right. Let’s just give away associate’s degrees. I mean, compressing two years worth of courses – most of which need to be taught by those with specialized, esoteric knowledge (not high school teachers) – into one year would totally raise the standard for education in the state of Maine. Or when a Maine high school student goes to take his terrible high school associate’s degree to an actual college or university and he asks if he can get credit towards a bachelor’s, he’s going to find that he suffered an extra year of low-level schooling for nothing. That’s because every other school in the nation (and I would hope even post-secondary schools in Maine) are going to laugh at that useless piece of paper.

LePage obviously hasn’t thought any of this through, unfortunately. But on the bright side, his lack of foresight and of general intelligence helps to explain why he’s now saying something different and superfluous.

LePage said the state needs to toughen its educational standards.

“We want to give our students an option — four years, you get a diploma or you can earn your associate’s degree with collaboration between the community college system and the University of Maine system,” he said. “It’s going to be tough; the kids are going to have to work harder.”

…wwwwhat? Community colleges and the UMaine system do work together – accredited schools tend to do that. Under LePage’s first plan from just a week ago (which I guess he has abandoned?), these two systems would have to lose a lot of credibility to work with high schools to just give away associate’s degrees. But right now it is perfectly possible to gain an associate’s degree at a community college which holds water when transferred into the UMaine system; the systems are already intertwined.

I highly doubt LePage actually thinks before he says anything.

6 Responses

  1. You just hates him, since this is in no way a bad idea. When I was a senior in HS I needed one credit to graduate. That left 7 class periods completely open which had to be filled with…… fluff. I don’t think we are talking about “giving away” degrees here though.

    The case was the same with a lot of other students. If senior year could be re-purposed to be more meaningful to those students who choose to pursue a two year degree and have no other classes to take, than this is actually a great idea.

    There would be huge problems, but that’s no different from most other ideas, they just need to be overcome. Maybe it does turn out to be an idea that can’t be put into practice, but I don’t see where you are getting that this is a horrible idea, that would rend the very fabric of education and thus life itself. Oh I forgot you seem have a blind hatred of LePage, carry on, carry on.

  2. Of course it’s giving away degrees. He wants to give people degrees for doing half the work while being taught by less qualified individuals. That’s giving it away. What might be even worse is that he isn’t even giving away something very valuable.

  3. Those are simply two issues to be solved not two issues with the underlying idea. One of them in fact I already pointed to a probable solution: a lot of students really only have 3 years of classes to take in high school.

    As for “less qualified” people teaching, I simply doubt it. That statement depends an awful lot on what degrees were offered and how much of the current teaching staff was used to teach the new programs.

    If you can even call them new!

    Half the work? No.
    Less qualified people? Not likely.
    MasterCard? Priceless.

  4. Whether or not high school is wasting student’s time with a useless year is one issue, but it isn’t an aspect of LePage’s proposal. He’s saying just tack on a year to what’s already being done; what education happens in that year is what constitutes an associate’s degree. That insults all the people who took two years at a real college or university to obtain the same degree. In addition, teachers are not professionals in any bit the sense that professors are professionals; teachers do not have the autonomy or esoteric knowledge necessary to teach at the college level. How many high school teachers have Ph.D.’s?

  5. How many graduate students teach classes without Ph.D’s? None of the teachers I had at SMCC (took a few classes there whilst I was at USM) had anything more than a masters and many of them were just long time workers in the field in which they were teaching.

    Again, it depends upon the degree being offered.

    What constitutes a real college? Co-eds passed out naked in the halls? Professors with chalk on their sleeves?

    Tacking on an extra year would give you two years of instruction.

  6. As a teacher I can attest to to the emptiness of seniors schedules in the past. Now our students who are the best and brightest take most of their junior and senior year classes online for college credit from the umaine system. (AP classes due to this will be gone within 5 years in most districts) So at no point do we even need to discuss high school teachers teaching the material for the degree. The problem is going to be in how it is instituted. As long as the 5 year program is taken online for the associates degree and the school itself is nothing more than a structure that is familiar it could work. Do I have confidence with Lepage’s ability to do this himself? No. Do I think he came up with this idea? No. So, if the Umaine system and schools worked together to accomplish a cooperative online program, this could be possible and a good idea.

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