Is Gov. LePage preparing to propose school choice?

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage was among 12 governors who recently signed proclamations declaring next week as National School Choice Week, a sign that Maine’s governor could be ready to announce an initiative that would expand school choice in this state.

Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s spokeswoman, said the governor is scheduled to make a major education announcement next week but she would not confirm any details.

Still, it’s probably a good bet that school choice will be a part of that announcement. LePage’s education commissioner, Stephen Bowen, all but endorsed school choice during a roll out of his own education plan earlier this week that called for better flexibility for students.

Bowen’s previous employer, the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center, has advocated for expanding school choice — a broad policy initiative that expands the ability of students and their parents to allow their kids to attend schools across municipal or district lines.

The concept is not universally accepted by administrators and educators. The Maine Education Association teachers’ union is opposed to school choice.

The other governors who signed proclamations on National School Choice Week were: Robert Bentley of Alabama, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Nathan Deal of Georgia, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, Gary Herbert of Utah, Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

All except Hickenlooper are Republicans.

National School Choice Week is billed as a series of events to shine a spotlight on the need for better providing educational options for children.

Gov. LePage already has been successful in bringing charter schools to Maine with the passage of legislation last spring.