Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Representative Brian Hubbell of Bar Harbor
House floor speech in favor of LD 1736: Resolve, To Provide Maine Students with Access to Online Learning through Their Existing School Districts
Mr. Speaker, Women and Men of the House:
Just over two years ago, our Chief Executive issued an Executive Order giving the Department of Education one year to develop a plan to expand digital learning opportunities available to Maine students.
Unfortunately, constraints of resources and time have kept the Department from realizing the Governor’s vision and the greater community of 180,000 Maine students is still missing the real promise of accessing the growing world of digital learning opportunities through Maine’s public schools.
This bill will kickstart that effort by charging Maine’s schools immediately to negotiate an agreement with New Hampshire’s successful Virtual Learning Academy to provide content to students through Maine schools and under the oversight of Maine teachers.
This bill further charges the Department of Education and Maine’s public education stakeholders to collaborate in developing a state-wide exchange — informed by those already in operation in other states — for Maine schools to access and exchange both locally- and globally-produced digital content — from single lectures and units to full term-length classes — in order to more efficiently meet the greatest range of student learning needs.
As this Chamber well understands, we owe it to Maine taxpayers to employ state funding for education as efficiently and effectively as possible. For less than the 3 million dollar cost of a single virtual charter school which would exclusively educate only a handful of specially interested students, this bill offers access to digital learning to all Maine students — full time, part-time, private-schooled, and homeschooled.
Please join me in support of this bipartisan bill and in support of the Chief Executive’s vision for broader more customized learning opportunities for all Maine students.