Program Supporting Maine’s Teachers Gets Boost from Federal Funds

March 29, 2024 · The Teach Maine Center seeks to connect and support educators

PORTLAND, Maine--New federal dollars championed by Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, will support the Teach Maine Center in growing, strengthening and diversifying Maine’s education workforce.

The special one-time funds—more than $520,000--were part of the congressionally directed spending included in the appropriations measure approved by Congress and President Biden last week. They were requested by Educate Maine as it develops the Teach Maine Center with support from the state Department of Education.

As envisioned, the Teach Maine Center will be an innovative hub for teaching and learning and serve as a convener and catalyst with innovative programming and professional learning -- designed by teachers, for teachers -- to support, strengthen, and grow Maine's educator workforce.

“The center will connect Maine’s educators, incubating their ideas and elevating their profession,” said Jason Judd, Executive Director of Educate Maine. “It ultimately will further our vision that all people will reach their greatest educational potential, and thus power a vibrant, globally competitive economy in Maine.”

There is already an alarming shortage of educators in Maine, made more concerning given a significant portion of Maine teachers are nearing retirement; a 50 percent decline in graduations from Maine teacher preparation programs over the last decade; and many schools lack the resources to attract and retain teachers.

These challenges contribute to student achievement gaps and hinder opportunities for young people.  Those gaps and opportunities must be addressed to ensure a robust workforce and economy for Maine’s future.

The Teach Maine Center will invest in professional learning and programming, help districts retain and recruit their educators and provide a roadmap for future innovations in pre-K-12 education.

Educate Maine is holding listening sessions for teachers in all 16 counties. These focus groups are designed to build community and capacity among educators and have provided a wealth of data on teachers’ experiences that will inform the work of the Teach Maine Center.

How do we grow, strengthen and diversify Maine’s educator workforce? Key findings, to date, highlight the need for:

Judd said the federal support will help with the next phase of developing the Center as Educate Maine starts to create specific programs to meet these needs.

"This paves the way for us to address the pressing shortage of teachers in Maine,” Judd said. “We are grateful to Senator King and his dedicated staff for their unwavering belief in our mission and commitment to supporting Maine's educators."


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