The Death of Educational Support in Maine

Maine leaders disconnect with their constituents have led to a state that has created several ongoing issues in Maine. As an example, according to the U.S. Department of Education Maine has had a shortage of supporting individuals in special education since 1990. Thus has undoubtedly has forced several kids to be moved to either a different school away from their peers or into a mainstream classroom where their needs are not being met. This issue can then likely be linked to one of the reasons that according to the Institute on Disability Maine ranks second to last in the gap between individuals working without disabilities and those not working with disabilities coming in at 36.4% (Only Rhode Island is higher 39.5%) in employment gap between workers with disabilities and the rest of the workforce.

When you take into account that Maine is forth in the nation with the highest rate of individuals in special education at 17.3% typing the context of why Maine is struggling in other areas all of a sudden makes much more sense. The understanding of how Maine ranks 38th in the nation in education then becomes a bit clearer and the concepts of Maine’s struggles having qualified nurses (Projected shortage of 3,200 RNs in 2025), social workers and other health care providers then begin to show a much more problematic issue.

Between the education, shortage of worker and the overall ageing population Maine has done little to fix the problem and has actively cut services such as Section 17 cuts which according to the Bangor Daily News saw over 8,000 Mainers lose their funding for mental health and in-home support services with no replacement and saw near no public outcry beyond just a few phone calls. Actions like these have left Maine’s most vulnerable with little voice and created a sense of normalcy in giving the government all the power while having little to no fightback from those who are significantly impacted. So how do actions like this continue to happen and what can we do? Simply put — Advocate for policy and changes that support a change in education.