MCLA + State Policy

How We Represent Members

MCLA’s mission is to support curriculum leaders and to champion policies and practices that enhance learning. In 2014 MCLA’s board decided to take an active role in state education policy making by providing information to both the Department of Education and to the legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

MCLA tracks bills that impact curriculum, instruction, assessment and standards and proficiency implementation. We poll our members on upcoming bills and potential state policies and report the results to members, the Department of Education, and to the legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. MCLA’s members work in 77 districts. We provide poll data to state policy makers when we’ve heard from a majority of those districts (approved by the board on January 27, 2017).

We convene members to provide feedback on proposed state policy changes when invited to do so by the legislature, by the Maine Department of Education, or when representing members requires more than a quick poll. We testify on behalf of our members at public hearings on the specific bills we think have a direct impact on learning. Those testifying in legislative hearings take one of three positions – in support of the specific bill being heard, against the bill, or neither for nor against. The Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs holds a work session on each bill following the public testimony. The Committee does not tally for and against testimony. Instead, it reviews all the points made in all testimony as it discusses each bill before voting.

MCLA’s default position on all bills is “neither for nor against”, since our purpose is to provide information about current practices and potential implications for teaching and learning (reaffirmed by the board on January 27, 2017). During the last legislative session, MCLA’s board voted to take a position other than “neither for nor against” on only two bills.

When bills related to curriculum, instruction, or assessment have far-reaching consequences but don’t  lend themselves to a quick poll, MCLA’s board may elect to provide the committee with information from other sources.

Contact Heidi McGinley, Executive Director director@mainecla.org