Wednesday January 05, 2011 | 01:25 PM

Newly sworn-in Gov. Paul LePage devoted, perhaps, more of his inaugural address today to education than to any other major policy area.

He described education as an area where partisan differences need to be set aside for the good of students, whom LePage described as the state's number one asset. He called on Maine schools to set the national standard for educational quality. He called for leaner school administration. And he called for higher academic standards in Maine schools.

What policy implications can we gather from those statements?

Tough to say, but if there is to be "leaner" administration in public education, does that mean there will be fewer mandates made on school districts that require administrative manpower?

If Maine schools are to teach to higher standards, are those higher standards the Common Core state standards that dozens of states have already adopted in response to a federal push for them, but that Maine has adopted only provisionally?

LePage also called for a renewed focus on vocational education and he renewed his push for a five-year high school program in Maine that allows students to earn both their diplomas and associate's degrees, thereby cutting the cost of higher education.

The governor also said a skilled, trained workforce is key to making Maine a state where it's desirable to do business. He mentioned the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, Maine's only magnet high school, as part of an anecdote, but didn't go with it where I thought he might: a call for more choices in public education.

What does all of this mean for Maine education? The answer will be forthcoming.

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