Unlike many states, Maine has not implemented legislation that explicitly addresses developmental education or its reform in higher education. The abiding context for developmental education in Maine’s community colleges is described in NERCHE’s and The Institute for Higher Education Policy’s 2002 pilot study, “Developmental Education and College Opportunity in New England”:
Maine . . . does not have a current developmental education policy at the state system level, nor does it have a community college system. It has, rather, a system consisting of seven technical colleges, each of which has the autonomy to determine the best approach to developmental learning. All colleges offer various developmental courses and services along with learning centers, tutoring, and/or TRIO funded college success activities to assure that students enrolling have the academic competencies to succeed in first semester college courses. (9)
Even though legislation does not address this issue directly, some educational initiatives since 2003 do have a bearing on how developmental education has been implemented into Maine’s community college system.
In 2003, Maine’s technical colleges and adult education system (MAEA) partnered to implement a developmental curriculum designed to help Maine adults “transition successfully into college” (MCCS). The objective of this initiative was to increase the level of educational attainment of Maine’s citizens, who lag behind the attainment of other New England states.
Echoing this earlier effort, the 123rd Maine State Legislature adopted House Paper (HP) 1628, which was a joint resolution in support of developing “strategies to increase postsecondary access, retention, and completion for low-wage, low-skilled adults.” In this resolution, the legislative committee recommended several policy opportunities to facilitate collaboration between Maine’s community college system and private sector. The aim of this collaboration was to improve the professional preparation of Maine’s low-wage, low-skill adult (non-traditional student) population. Central among these recommendations were the following:
1. “the commission recommended that, to the extent possible, adult education program resources be used for remedial or developmental education that prepares low-wage individuals to enroll in a postsecondary education program” and
2. “the commission recommended that the Commissioner of Education work with the Maine Adult Education Association and the Maine Community College System to colocate adult education programs with community college campuses where feasible, to provide seamless remedial course offerings to low-wage adult students and to maximize the value of federal financial aid to students.”
Maine State Legislature. HP1678, Joint Resolution In Support Of The Recommendations Of TheCommission To Develop Strategies To Increase Postecondary Access, Retention And Completion For Low-Wage, Low-Skilled Adults.123rd Maine State Legislature. 1st spec. sess. Web. 6 May 2014
Developmental Education and College Opportunity in New England: Lessons for a National Study ofState and System Policy Impacts, a Pilot Study. Washington, DC: Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2002. Web. 6 May 2014
Maine Community College System. Technical College, Adult Education Systems Collaborate To IncreaseAccess To College For Maine Adults. Augusta, ME: MCCS, 22 January 2003. Web. 6 May 2014.