This year’s symposium focuses on innovative approaches for ensuring competitiveness in the global economy, teacher effectiveness, improved assessments, and technology that will transform education for the digital age. A number of education policy experts and political leaders are taking part in the conference, including: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; former North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, Jr.; Founder and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush; former U.S. Secretary of Education and Senior Advisor for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Margaret Spellings; and Vicki Phillips, Ed.D., Director of Education and College Ready for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
When considering changes within education in the State of Maine, Governor LePage has been clear that “students must come first.” “Our youth reflects the future of our State,” Governor LePage says. “It’s not enough to hope that our students do well. In an ever changing and increasingly competitive global economy, we must strive to improve opportunities for both students and teachers. We must take a hard look at our education system and be willing to ensure that there is on-going support and training for our educators and multiple pathways to success by way of choice for our students.”
Education is a key priority of the LePage Administration. Last year, Governor LePage increased funding to general purpose aid for education by $63 million over the two-year budget. During the 125th Legislature, the Governor led the initiative to allow charter schools in Maine for the first time, giving more choices to Maine families. The Governor also introduced a series of reforms to improve Career and Technical Education in Maine, bringing it back to the forefront of education and Commissioner Stephen Bowen created comprehensive legislation addressing educator effectiveness, making sure Maine’s educators are evaluated regularly, given the training and support they need to improve, and are held accountable for student achievement and growth.
The Education Symposium will highlight the fact that technology will play a significant role in education for the digital age. As a leader who has addressed the challenges and opportunities associated with digital learning, Commissioner Bowen will speak at the Symposium about how education professionals can better use technology to provide new ways to offer students improved and personalized instruction.
“Technology is going to be key if we are going to realize Governor LePage’s vision of an educational system that meets the needs of all kids,” said Commissioner Bowen. “Online and distance learning options can provide students with additional opportunities to achieve and demonstrate proficiencies. Additionally, new computer-based assessment tools can provide educators with real-time information on student achievement, allowing teachers to adapt instructional practices to meet the needs of learners.”
The 2012 Governors Education Symposium is co-hosted by the Hunt Institute and the Foundation for Excellence in Education and sponsored by The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and State Farm Insurance Companies.