NEWS OF: 6/12/2006

Michaud Reminds Parents & Students: Consolidate by June 30, 06

June 30th is the last day that students and parents have to consolidate student loans before interest rates rise July 1, 2006 to just over 7 percent – the highest rate in six years. The rate on outstanding federal parent loans are expected to rise to about 7.8 percent.

Student borrowers who consolidate before July 1st may be eligible for a rate as low as 4.75 percent over the life of their loans, saving the typical undergraduate borrower almost $3,500.

Parents? See Rep. Mike Michaud

Popularity: 25%

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NEWS OF: 5/25/2006

Westbrook Sex Ed: Where the Rubber Hits the Road

Westbrook’s eighth-graders will learn about contraception this fall following a stormy school board meeting. School Board members present voted for the curriculum, despite protests by some parents and the Christian Civic League of Maine.

Those against the measure made the usual arguments that once children know about contraception, they will abandon their virginity… enter into same sex relationships and worship Satan. Those for the measure made the usual arguments about more knowledge being better than less knowledge.

School officials countered that contraception was part of the junior high health curriculum as recently as the early 1990s, but had somehow disappeared. They stressed that the sex education program would emphasize abstinence and that parents could choose to have their students opt out of specific units.

Popularity: 27%

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NEWS OF: 5/4/2006

Don’t Do the Dew

VIEW ALL: Education

Non-diet sodas are being banned from United States schools, and other drinks will be downsized under a deal announced by former president Bill Clinton and the nation’s largest beverage distributors. However, flavored milks and sugary sports drinks will remain, so our guess is that kids will simply follow the sucrose.

Popularity: 17%

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NEWS OF: 4/26/2006

Maine Supremes Uphold Ban on Tuition Vouchers for Parochial Schools

Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld by a 6-1 majority a 1983 law, which bans tuition vouchers from being paid to parochial schools. The recent lawsuit was brought by a legal advocacy group on behalf of eight families from Durham, Minot and Raymond who sought to use the public funding to send their children to St. Dominic Regional High School, Union Springs Academy and Pine Tree Academy. The previous challenge to the law was a 1997 lawsuit by five Raymond families who wanted the state to pay for their children’s tuition at Cheverus High School, a Catholic school in Portland. See

Popularity: 39%

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NEWS OF: 4/24/2006

College Aid: Who do I have to kill?

VIEW ALL: Education

One in 532 applicants for federal college aid in Maine is RJ’d because of drug offenses or refusal to answer questions about previous convictions for possession or trafficking.

Ruth Blauer, executive director of the Maine Association of Substance Abuse Programs, says the law “is not a deterrent to drug use; it’s a deterrent to recovery.” Zachary Heiden, staff attorney for the Maine Civil Liberties Union: “Education is crucial to achieving employment, and that’s the best way to keep people away from crime and out of prison.”

Yeah, yeah… but lending money to drug addicts seems like such a bad idea - until you realize that conviction of other crimes, including murder, doesn’t have the same result. You can kill someone in cold blood and still get federal financial aid.

Popularity: 17%

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NEWS OF: 4/5/2006

Snowe: Funds with Benefits

Senator Snowe is supporting a couple of pieces of common sense legislation that will help Maine families pay for a college education for their kids. “The College 529 Invest Act,” would make permanent a special tax exemption making college savings accounts tax-free. A second piece of legislation would permanently extend the deduction for college tuition expenses including books. See Snowe

Popularity: 23%

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NEWS OF: 3/23/2006

Apple Laptops

VIEW ALL: Education

Apple has won the contract to supply 36,000 laptops to Maine’s seventh- and eighth-grade students and teachers for the 2006-2007 school year as part of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. See

Popularity: 15%

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NEWS OF: 2/16/2006

Ed Committee Likes Laptops

VIEW ALL: Education

The Education Committee is recommending by an 8-4 vote that Maine’s laptop program ( Maine Learning Technology Initiative) for middle school students be extended for another four years at a state cost of $10 million per year. Considering how critical technology is to success in college and business? This is a great idea. See Bangor Daily News

Popularity: 12%

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NEWS OF: 2/7/2006

Collins: About Those Kids We Left Behind

Senator Collins met with members of the Maine School Board Association (MSBA) to chat about the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Flexibility and Improvement Act, a jointly sponsored bill of Snowe and Collins to increase local control and flexibility for states, school districts, and schools in implementing NCLB. See Collins

Popularity: 28%

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NEWS OF: 2/5/2006

Students to Bush: Do The Math

President Bush was only half-joking when he mentioned that he, himself, was looking for a math mentor. Despite his comment in the SOTU: “This competitive world is going to demand a job skill set that emphasizes math and science … And if our kids don’t have the talents necessary to compete, those jobs won’t go away — they’ll just go to another country,” his budget cuts federal student aid programs by $12 billion, while the bill passed earlier this week mandates higher interest rates on student loans. See Detroit News

Popularity: 12%

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NEWS OF: 2/2/2006

$40 Billion Reasons for Deadbeat Dads to Rejoice

There’s good news for deadbeat dads who will no longer be dogged by the state to support their children thanks to Congress approval of a $40 billion spending cuts package. It costs too much to chase you down, so those state programs will be shut down. This could force more women into welfare, but don’t worry, those women will be working even more hours for fewer bucks thanks to the same package so they won’t have time to come after your sorry ass either.

Your deadbeat kids, should they survive the system and make it to college? They’ll be paying higher interest rates on their loans.

Medicaid recipients will be paying more for everything: co-payments, deductibles, prescription drugs, etc. And seniors deemed as “more affluent” will find it harder to get Medicaid to cover their nursing care. It passed the House despite the fact that virtually no Democrat supported the bill. See

Popularity: 29%

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NEWS OF: 2/1/2006

Parents RJ State’s Proposal for Disabled Children

VIEW ALL: Education

Saying that her proposal would save $7 million a year, Education Commissioner Susan Gendron is proposing legislation that would shift the responsibility of serving disabled children between birth to age 5 to Maine’s public schools by 2009.

Parents and service providers from across the state think it’s a lousy idea.

Popularity: 23%

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NEWS OF: 1/5/2006

Maine’s Education System Sucks

VIEW ALL: Education

The good news is we have great air quality and all the Poland Spring water you can chug. The bad news is that our education system lacks clear standards for students and teachers, includes few accountability policies and makes little effort to improve teacher quality. At least class sizes are low, what with all the drop outs… (just kidding) The national report was released by Editorial Projects in Education, the publisher of Education Week. See Press Herald

Popularity: 11%

NEWS OF: 12/19/2005

Filling Potholes with Extra Students?

VIEW ALL: Education

The Maine Department of Education will be requesting $43 million more in state funding for the next school year in anticipation of an additional 1,600 students. (See BDN) In the meantime, a DOT shortfall of $130 million means road repairs will be evaluated on a pothole-by-pothole basis. (Also, BDN). Thanks, DOT, for filling in that particularly nasty one at the corner of Church Street in Gorham.

Popularity: 12%

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