John Frary’s commentary about the need for charter schools (“We know status quo doesn’t work, so let’s try charter schools,” Sept. 2) illustrates the Downeast version of that old debater’s saw: If you can’t beat ’em with facts and logic, then mire ’em in moose muck.

Frary repeats our governor’s rant that Maine’s public schools have failed, trotting out the suspect study from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (not its School of Education).

The study absurdly claims our global standing is jeopardized unless our schools rank first, something the United States has never done, although we’ve been the pre-eminent global power for generations.

The study was funded and written by pro-charter school groups and is based on unproven statistical methods.

No matter, Gov. Paul LePage and Frary say. The Maine School Management Association pointed out our “cheerfully” strong national school rankings (12th) only because it wants to take over our education budget.

Instead, we need to experiment, they say, and that means charters. In the process, however, we must ignore all the data, such as Stanford University’s CREDO study, showing charters are more expensive and less effective than public schools.

The newspaper’s excellent expose of our governor’s secret allegiance to corporate virtual schools brings out the muck in all its rankness. These “experiments” are not about education, they’re about selling out the public to corporations that want our taxes for their profit, profit that also flows to LePage.

Want to experiment? Let’s do what the world’s best schools do:

* Pay teachers well and respect their dedication and work, the way businesses attract the best.

* Ensure our families get basic medical care and nutrition, since children who are sick or hungry can’t learn.

* Provide safe schools.

But that’s not really experimenting. That’s doing what works.

David Lentini, member

SAD/RSU 60 board of directors

North Berwick


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