Governor LePage told the group that he believes Maine doesn't need to spend more money on education, but that it should do a better job making sure more education funds go into classrooms.
He also says he's learning a lot from how other countries educate their kids.
LePage said, "We're looking at 10 countries, the top 10 countries. They all have one common denominator. A teacher not only has teaching skills, but content skills. And that's what we don't do in this country."
Wow, that just rolled off the tongue with amazing clarity and electrified the audience, huh? But not exactly the soundbite that some of his supporters had anticipated:
Governor LePage will focus on leading the global economy. Two-thirds of the jobs created in the U.S. over the next few years are expected to require at least some college education, and if the nation is going to compete with its global competitors, the pathway is through emphasizing high skills and innovation. Yet states continue to struggle with creating a successful pathway from K-12 to college graduation - especially for the students and workers who need the economic boost of higher education the most. And as high-demand, high-growth science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers become increasingly mobile, the competition is sharp.
"Given the tough economic challenges facing the state, more money - either from the general fund or tuition increases - cannot be the solution," wrote LePage. "Instead, I suggest reforms related to resource allocation, increased productivity, elimination of duplicative services, specialization, innovation, and perhaps through the selection of a proven agent of change as the next chancellor of the University System."
LePage suggested a series of reforms, sometimes extolling his views of problems in the system in his signature gruff terms.
"We should strive to have each campus become a true leader in a given area, rather than multiple campuses overextending themselves in a hodgepodge of unfocused endeavors," wrote LePage, who also called for noninstructional staff positions to be reduced systemwide in favor of hiring more professors and instructors.
LePage also urged the system to require more productivity of employees, such as professors taking on more graduate students and giving cash bonuses for high productivity or securing grant funding.
"Since the system is currently involved in contract negotiations, this may be an ideal time for its leadership to demand more from its employees," wrote LePage.
LePage also suggested a "top-to-bottom review" of services offered by the university and community college systems and the consolidation of duplicative efforts.
"A comparison of all employees and their functions may reveal significant duplication of efforts," wrote the governor.
It really is a case of he only knows one business model- that of Marden's. That, or as he only has a hammer, everything before him looks like a nail.