Ed Cervone | Executive Director of Educate Maine

Ed Cervone returned to Maine in 2014 to lead Educate Maine, a business-led nonprofit that advances education policies and practices to prepare Maine students for the workforce. Before leaving for an out-of-state job, Cervone spent six years at the Maine Development Foundation, including as president and CEO. The goal of Educate Maine is to help Mainers reach their greatest educational potential. When that happens, Cervone says, “health improves, the economy grows, communities strengthen, and Maine becomes an even better place to live. It is easily Maine’s best investment strategy.” Educate Maine is one of the founding organizations of MaineSpark, an initiative to have 60 percent of Maine’s workforce earn some kind of credential, such as a trade certificate or college degree, by 2025. In the past two years, the total has grown from 42 percent to 46 percent, Cervone says. His organization is also known for its annual Education Indicators report, which measures the performance of Maine’s entire education system, from preschool participation to postsecondary credentials. “If you don’t even know where you’re at, the destination is a difficult decision,” Cervone says. “We now know where we’re at. We know where the kids are at, and we know where they should be.” Policymakers, educators, businesses, and other organizations can use the research to make investments or other strategic planning decisions. One of the most useful ways the indicator report is used is to evaluate the achievement gap between students from different demographics, Cervone says. “We won’t be successful if kids are being left behind,” Cervone says. “We don’t have enough bodies as it is. We can’t afford—mathematically or morally—to allow any kid that’s getting a public education in Maine to not get every opportunity their peers do.”

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