Educate Maine is being honored this year as the 2018 “Friend of Education” by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). This national award is given annually to an individual or organization whose contributions to education are significant and enduring.
In seven years, Educate Maine has established itself as a prominent and respected advocate for education and the economy. It champions college and career readiness, strives to increase educational attainment of the Maine workforce, believes in equity for all and life-long learning, and recognizes the need to have the business community and the educational community work closely together for the benefit of our students.
Educate Maine has been a part of commissions and committees formed to improve education in Maine and beyond. It is recognized by Maine’s Chamber of Commerce, department of education, state board of education, and other stakeholders as the “go-to” organization for data and robust analysis needs and for convening innovative ideas.
“I am so glad Educate Maine will be nationally recognized by NASBE as its 2018 Friend of Education.” said Martha Harris, a Maine state board member. “The organization has been an invaluable partner and a true friend of education on a number of state board initiatives. We are grateful they are such great champions of high-quality education for all Maine students.”
In the last three years, Educate Maine has established and expanded Project Login, which provides resources for educators, parents, and students in K-12 and higher education and connects Mainers with careers in computing and informational technology. The organization has also brought TechHire—a national initiative that connects people with tech jobs through non-traditional pathways—to Maine. In partnership with Unum and the Maine Principals’ Association, Educate Maine administers the Education Leaders Experience, a year-long program that connects the business and education sectors and provides valuable opportunities for our upcoming leaders.
Partnering with the state board and department of education, Educate Maine has transformed Maine’s Teacher of the Year program by implementing a rigorous process for selecting semi-finalists, finalists, and the eventual choice for Maine Teacher of the Year. This program had well over 300 nominations in each of the past three years—a substantial increase from the handful of nominations it used to receive each year.
Educate Maine regularly collaborates with the Chamber of Commerce on research and initiatives. They annually publish an Education Indicators Report, and in 2017, they executed an ambitious plan to close the skills gap for Maine employers by doubling in three years the number of students enrolled in hands-on, skills-based technical education programs. This has resulted in policy changes in Maine’s legislative and executive branches. Career and technical education is now a major initiative in Maine, with an additional focus on expanding it to middle school.
Other research produced by Educate Maine and the Chamber of Commerce address funding for public education, college and career readiness, early childhood education, and college affordability. These have all influenced policy in Maine, particularly with ESSA and the significant need for a skilled, educated labor force in the state. Pre-K for all is the goal, with funds being allocated across the state, especially in rural and high-poverty areas. Loan repayment plans also have been established to keep the best and brightest in Maine.
“We are thrilled to receive NASBE’s Friend of Education award this year,” said Educate Maine’s Executive Director Ed Cervone. “We are proud of the work that we do with Maine businesses and educators to support teachers and students across our state—this is a great honor.”
“Educate Maine demonstrates why on-the-ground partners are critical to the success of important statewide education initiatives,” said NASBE President and CEO Kristen Amundson. “NASBE is proud to honor such supportive, knowledgeable stakeholders working on behalf of Maine students.”
The 2018 Friend of Education Award will be presented at NASBE’s national conference in Denver, Colorado. Learn more about the conference.
NASBE is the only national organization giving voice and adding value to the nation’s state boards of education. A nonprofit organization founded in 1958, NASBE works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking, promote excellence in the education of all students, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, and ensure continued citizen support for public education. Learn more at www.nasbe.org.