It is difficult to overstate how
much Maine's future depends on the quality of education provided within
and across the state. Education is the driving force that will determine
Maine's ability to create economic prosperity and to provide a rewarding
and satisfying quality of life for residents, and for those it hopes to
attract. Education at every level is the arena where the most difficult
challenges we face are addressed and resolved for future generations.
The University of Maine has a major responsibility for ensuring the
state's overall quality of education. Besides being the state's largest
single producer of college graduates, UMaine also serves as the state's
largest preparer of educators. Nearly one-third of the teachers educated
in the state received at least one degree from UMaine. A large
percentage of principals, superintendents, and guidance counselors hold
UMaine degrees as well. Through those graduates, UMaine continues to
affect the quality, nature, and performance of Maine's education system.
In light of those facts, The University of Maine Board of Visitors has
taken a strong interest in the future of K-12 education in Maine. It has
discussed the subject in detail with professors, with K-12 educators,
and with Governor King and legislators. To support the Board's effort, I
created a K-12 Task Force to systematically review UMaine's role with
regard to K-12 education.
The recommendations of the Board of Visitors and the detailed Task Force
report on which the recommendations were based: The synergistic
relationship between the University and Maine's elementary and secondary
schools is fundamental to the state's success. Beyond preparing
teachers, the University also provides professional development for
teachers and administrators. UMaine also helps the process of school
reform through outreach efforts.
Contrary to common assumptions, these functions are responsibilities of
the entire University, not simply those of our College of Education and
Human Development. That is why the University has announced a new
initiative to connect our academic disciplines more broadly, thoroughly,
and effectively with Maine's schools and their needs. Several major
federal grants are enabling professors in engineering, mathematics, and
the sciences to become directly involved in Maine K-12 classrooms.
UMaine aspires to be a national leader and innovator in integrating
University resources with K-12 education. We believe that the University
will learn and gain as much through this interaction as Maine's schools.
The Board's recommendations, and the Task Force's detailed assessment,
will help us meet the challenge. I invite you to review the full set of
recommendations on our Web site.
Peter S. Hoff
UMaine Today Magazine
Department of University Relations
5761 Howard A. Keyo Public Affairs Building
Phone: (207) 581-3744 | Fax: (207) 581-3776