Guest Lecture Reflection

Guest Lecture Reflection

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The guest lecture by Peter Johnson, last Thursday, was highly informative for many reasons. Peter Johnson brought in a vast amount of Maine political knowledge. Mills spent time in both the Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives and recently ran for Governor of Maine. Today Mills is the executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority and was chosen for this position by Governor Paul.
The most important insight that Peter Johnson left us was his opinion and rationale for paying teachers more. I am a secondary education major, so this insight was rather enticing to me. I would have to agree with Mills opinion on this, but not for the sake of just paying teachers more. If we want our school systems to get better, then paying more for teacher’s salaries could certainly be a step in the right direction. I would assume that if a teachers salary was doubled, then it would lead to a rising slope of more people entering the education field. Presumably, I would imagine more people out of the science and math fields would enter the education field, because as I see it, many of those people in those fields tend to migrate towards higher paying jobs. Therefore, that means many of the nations best and brightest do not become educators. Rather, they would want a more extravagant lifestyle, then what a teachers salary entails. Attending college for four years and then only being paid a salary of approximately thirty thousand dollars is demoralizing. That is not that much over the poverty level and it takes quite a few years to raise an educator’s salary. If merit pay, or just an overall increase of salary is adopted into the education field, then it sounds rather enticing and hopefully would create a positive affect. I know certainly if I were paid merit pay, I would certainly give it my best effort. One should not forget though, that not all students are created equal in the cognitive sphere, so merit pay would have its issues. Some teachers could be giving optimal effort, but the students just may be a factor in the reasoning of why there is difficulty. Many students with disabilities are mainstreamed and I certainly cannot see holding them at the same rung as all the other students.
One certain aspect that was discussed in our class and shared by Peter Johnson is that he spoke of the citizens legislate and how it consists of very few rich people.

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Johnson said that the legislature consists of mostly modest people, like teachers, small business owners and doctors. There are only a few doctors in the legislative branch, but they are on the rise. Johnson expressed what we have talked about quite substantively and that is that the vast majority of the legislature comes from simple backgrounds. Johnson also said that the Maine Senate could be similar to the major leagues so to say. I believe Mary and Chris discussed that topic in our guest lecture. The aspect of how laptops and phones made working in the legislature and being able to do another job was something that I can remember that we discussed in class and it is something that Peter Johnson discussed. Overall, in the guest lecture, Johnson spoke on quite a few of the themes that our class has discussed so far.
What surprised me the most was Johnson's opinion on taxes. I would assume if Paul hired him, then Johnson would share many of the opinions that Lepage does. From the presentation, it seemed that Johnson was ok with taxes. Even though, Johnson primarily spoke of indirect taxes, such as the gas, cigarette and even alcohol, his predisposition of raising the gas tax substantially, surprised me. To me, it seemed that Mills was advocating raising the gas tax substantially. Personally, that aspect of his presentation surprised me.
The presentation by Peter Johnson did have some important aspects dealing with my blog topic. For example, Johnson spoke highly of education and that is something in my opinion that could ultimately alter the neediness of entitlements. Education from my standpoint is something that can alter lives for the better and if we create a better education system, then that would likely decrease the need of entitlement spending. This aspect of the presentation is something that I have already written about and would like to write about more in my blog posting exercise. Mills idea of merit pay could alleviate the need for entitlement spending down the road, especially if it helps this state bring in highly educated teachers that can share their wealth of knowledge with America’s next generation.
In conclusion, I appreciated Peter Johnson coming to our class. Much of what he discussed has helped me see the importance of the themes in this class. Also, Mills discussion on education will certainly help me with my blog posting exercise. Peter Johnson has a substantial amount of Maine political knowledge and that is something that made this lecture highly informative and even special. I have been looking forward to this guest presentation since the syllabus was handed out and I thank you for bringing Peter Johnson to this class. It certainly has been a high point in the class, which I appreciate very greatly.

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