Date of Award

Spring 2020

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts


Political Science


Dr. Donald Davison

Committee Member

Dr. Chelsea Ebin

Committee Member

Dr. Dexter Boniface


In Maine there is a lack of a comprehensive policy that allows and facilitates an equal education for all students no matter where they go to school. In order to research what is driving this inequality a specific policy was selected to use as the case study. The policy selected was proficiency-based learning. This policy was enacted in 2012 which makes it the most recent comprehensive education policy passed in Maine. In addition, this policy mandated similar concepts as past policy, so it was able to illustrate the trends in Maine’s education policy. In order to understand what effects education policy has in Maine I used a mixed methods approach. This helped to illustrate the three major factors that reproduce these inequalities rather than mitigate them. The three reasons are: Polarization, Populism, and the Budget. Each of these reasons are driven by the Urban-Rural divide in Maine. Through this research the most important finding was education policy in Maine is polarized by the urban-rural divide which leads to increase needs for local control. This high level of local control allows for the status quo to be reproduced and only increases the ineuqlaity in Maine.