Flunking out

By AL DIAMON  |  August 15, 2012

Students who objected to the revised curriculum would be free to quit at any time, once their federal vouchers cleared the bank. In fact, they'd be encouraged to do so, in order to raise standards for the remaining scholars. By concentrating on the roughly one-third of applicants who were so desperate for an education that they'd endure deprivation, crushing debt, and endless classes available only via the schools' ultra-slow dial-up computer access, this would undoubtedly result in more graduates ready to step into the jobs Maine has to offer (sweeping hallways, cleaning urinals, serving in the Legislature).

"The state of Maine can continue down the path of being a welfare state," LePage said in a radio interview in April, "or we can revive the American Dream."

There's no question this plan would accomplish that — mostly for McKernan. With Education Management facing a federal lawsuit involving fraudulent student-recruitment efforts, with consumers questioning whether for-profit schooling has any value, with the ex-governor's stock holdings in EMC worth a fraction of what they were in 2011, he clearly needs a fresh start.

Letting him run Maine's education system for his personal gain seems little enough thanks for his eight years of half-hearted service as the state's chief executive.

One more advantage of privatizing public schools: It makes way more sense than LePage's plan to charge local school districts for the cost of any remedial programs their students have to take before qualifying for college-level courses. If that proposal were implemented, it would raise property taxes. And it would allow indifferent students to escape responsibility for their poor performance.

Only McKernan gets that kind of hall pass.

Can I be excused to go potty? If anything interesting comes up while I'm gone, email me at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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