Good thing school is out, because Wednesday’s education reform presentation by Gov. Paul LePage and the response by the Maine Education Association would have resulted in failing grades all around.

Both sides were responding to a Harvard University study that showed Maine in next to last place among the participating 41 states when it comes to the rate of improvement in student performance on standardized tests.

While not all the news in the report was bad, this was a dismal result that called for a serious response. That, however, is not what we got.

First, the teachers union made the case that Maine was slow to improve because it already was so good there was little room for improvement. That’s just not true.

Yes, Maine students regularly produce test results that are well above the national average and often at the top among the states. Comparison with international test results, however, show that even scoring above the U.S. average is not good enough. The country is falling behind competitors in the developing as well as the developed world when it comes to education, and even being at the top of the heap doesn’t mean much when the heap is so low.

A quarter of Maine’s elementary school students fail to meet standards in reading, and 30 percent don’t meet them in mathematics. There is plenty of room for improvement.

And if the union’s assessment is correct, the state’s with the lowest test scores would be the ones that make the biggest improvement. While that is true for some states, Massachusetts, which already out-performs Maine, was one of the states that made the biggest gains.

The Harvard report would appear to give LePage a strong rationale for taking a different approach to education reform. Unfortunately, he chose to poison his proposal with unjustified attacks on Maine’s reputation and make a blatantly untrue claim about how colleges view Maine applicants.

The governor said: “I don’t care where you go in this country — if you come from Maine, you’re looked down upon now.”

He went on to claim that the College of William and Mary in Virginia requires a placement exam for all Maine students before considering their applications. When contacted, college officials said they do no such thing.

The governor just made it up, as he has done before.

Why LePage thinks he can move Maine forward by tearing down the state is a mystery. That he thinks he can get people to support his ideas for education reform by inventing false information is beyond belief.

The Harvard study, finding that Maine’s school reform efforts have not produced acceptable rates of improvement, gave both the governor and the union something concrete to work on.

Next time out, we should demand a better response. Summer is almost over.

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