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Students react to LePage quote
OXFORD HILLS — “If you want a good education in Maine . . . go to an academy. If you want a good education go to private schools. If you can’t afford it, tough luck. You can go to the public school. Until the state of Maine decides, and the governor’s staff and the Legislature sit around the table and say ‘what’s best for our students,’ we are not going to fix our schools.”
This quote is from Governor Paul LePage's remarks at York County Community College during an “Eggs ‘n Issues” discussion last Friday. Expectedly, his remarks have outraged the Maine Education Association, teachers and administrators across the state. But what about students?
Student journalists were asked to do a "student on the street" survey, sharing the above quote and getting their reaction. While some reactions were unprintable, others were thoughtful. The journalism students were asked to get 20 random responses:
Josh Shepard (Grade 12): "What a *****."
Bryanne Starbird (Grade 11): "I don't agree with it."
Edward Heath (Grade 9): "I think he's an idiot."
Christopher Draper (Grade 12): "I think it's stupid that he was totally dismissing public schools and basically saying that if you can't afford a private school or an academy then you're out of luck."
Blake VanTol (Grade 12): "I believe he is correct in saying that if you want a good education you should go to a private school or an academy, but he shouldn't just completely disregard public schools."
Myriah Lausier (Grade 11): "It's very good. Public school is better because you get a better education because there are more people."
Matt Surette (Grade 11): "I think it's reasonable. People's parents should have gone to college and got an education; if they are poor and have to go to public school then they can blame their parents."
Nick Allen (Grade 10): "He shouldn't be targeting public schools, if he's focusing on education and the public school system. Making public schools better should be his focus."
Tianna Sugars (Grade 9): "I don't agree with it, it's kind of mean. He doesn't understand all the classes."
Kenneth Flanders (Grade 9): "It sounds very mean. It should be fair for all people."
Kale Churchill (Grade 9): "It's pretty stupid-sounding. Everyone should be able to afford a good education."
Junior Rosales (Grade 12): "I think [Governor LePage] is stupid because it's not the family's fault they can't afford private school. [Governor LePage] can't say 'tough luck', that's not right. I believe everyone deserves the right education to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. I'd kick out LePage and take his position instead."
Claire Robertson (Grade 12): "Govenor LePage is arrogant. He thinks that if you can't afford private school, then you have to just "deal" with public schools ... I think everyone that goes to public school and this school can go anywhere in life."
Kaitlyn Garneau (Grade 12): "I like private schools because they're more confined, so it's more one-on-one. I like our school, too, because we have tech classes and stuff. If I could talk to [LePage] I would tell him it's not the schools [fault], it's if the kids are willing to learn. It's more up to the students, if they're willing to learn or not."
Victoria Conrad (Grade 12): "Governor LePage doesn't care about or believe in education! He's an idiot!"
Jackie Bressette (Grade 12): "If what Governor LePage is saying is that public schools aren't as good as private schools, then he sucks."
Baylee Heikkinen (Grade 10): "What he said is lame because he shouldn't have that outlook on public school."
Emily Libby (Grade 11): "I'm not going to college in Maine – Maine sucks."
Natasha St. Pierre (Grade 11): "Any kid should be able to go to any school they want."
Rene Moody (Grade 11): "It's tough luck because we have to agree and go to public school if we don't have the money to go to the academy or private schools, but I don't like the way he said it, it makes us feel like crap."