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From potatoes to robotics, 4-H aims to meet children where their needs are

The Bangor Daily News – Staff Writer

The children in these clubs will be soon starting their animal and agricultural projects anew, either continuing to raise the same type of animal or taking up a new project in a different club offered by 4-H. But around this time of year, the state’s 4-H program is also regrouping with community partners and planning for the school year to provide learning materials and support to schools and other community organizations to help bring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to Maine youth.”(more)

The future of proficiency-based education

The Hechinger Report – Lillian Mongeau

“Known as proficiency-based education, Yarmouth’s recent changes to their curriculum and teaching methods were inspired by the 2012 state law that will require all students to graduate with a proficiency-based diploma, beginning with the Class of 2021. The law requires that every district determine standards for proficiency in eight subject areas and then base the awarding of diplomas on student mastery of those subjects. But the exact details of what the state will count as proficiency are unclear, as are the consequences for not hitting that undefined target. The result is that districts are charting their own course. And Yarmouth’s chosen path, a gradual shift rather than a 180-degree turn, may well be the most likely way forward for most of the state.”(more)

Financial Education: When to start talking about saving?

WCSH 6 – Addison Boroff

“How important is financial education? A significant part of financial capability is the ability to make ends meet through adequate savings. Having resources for immediate medical needs is also an important component. In Maine, 15% of individuals reported that over the past year, their household spent more than their income (not including the purchase of a new home, car or other big investment), while 23% of individuals reported having medical bills that are past due. Individuals who are not balancing monthly income and expenses are not saving and thus may find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Overdue medical debt can further compound a household’s ability to meet monthly financial obligations. Getting students to have a better understanding of financial education before they become adults is important in helping them to become successful adults with money management.”(more)

Investing in early childhood education now reduces crime later

The Bangor Daily News – Troy Morton

“As sheriff of Penobscot County and having spent my 27-year career in law enforcement, I cannot emphasize enough the importance and benefits of high-quality early childhood education for Maine’s kids, especially our at-risk youth. These programs benefit our youth, enhance the safety of our communities and advance the success of our state. The vast majority of my law enforcement colleagues across Maine agree that early learning programs are a critical and wise investment for Maine. Research backs up what I have long observed throughout my career, that high-quality early education is one of the best crime-prevention tools we have in our arsenal.”(more)

Retaining Foreign Language Teachers As Difficult As Finding Them

Maine Public – Robbie Feinberg

“However, retaining teachers is easier said than done. Nationally, 8 percent of all classroom teachers leave the profession every year, according to a recent report from the Learning Policy Institute. The reasons range from low pay to insufficient prep time. Marty Abbott, the executive director of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages, says those same issues affect foreign language teachers, who can often use their skills to find other, better-paying jobs. “Naturally, people are going into a wide variety of fields where we do need their language capabilities,” he says. “But we also need their language expertise to become teachers as well.” If you ask foreign language teachers in Maine, they’ll tell you that their biggest challenge is workload. At the elementary and middle levels, many work in four or five schools at a time, which makes travel and planning difficult.”(more)

Column: Early education is one of our most important investments

Central Maine – Ben Gilman, Robert Gregoire and Matthew Pouliot

“No more chasing after the ice cream truck or hanging around the pool. As the temperatures begin to get chillier and the days a little shorter, many children across the state of Maine are headed back to school — and for many it is their first time. That is why now is a good time to talk about how important early care and education of Maine kids is toward ensuring they are on a path to success — helping move Maine forward economically and keeping Maine’s communities safe. As representatives of Maine’s business community, the Maine State Legislature, and law enforcement, we strongly believe that reaching our state’s kids early in their lives, so they will learn the skills they need to be contributing members of society in the future, is the most important investment we as a state can make.”(more)