By Guy Page
The following is a quick, partial roundup of what’s happening with Vermont education policy.
1. Three separate lawsuits all seek school choice for Vermont parents and students. Thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court decision, they may win and thereby transform Vermont’s public educational system.
2. Five Vermont colleges – perhaps more – will require Covid-19 vaccination this fall. UVM and the state colleges are undecided. But K-12 public schools won’t require vaccination, Gov. Phil Scott says.
3. The use and misuse of Critical Race Theory rages in the Essex-Westford school district. A newly-elected gadfly school board member with strong backing from the community is probing the school board and senior management. Supporters say it’s time to get serious about systemic racism. Opponents say it’s based in Marxist class struggle and just makes the problem worse. A Town Hall meeting will be held 6:30 pm this Friday evening at the Essex Grange on Rte. 15, open to all.
4. Vermont – long proud of its special education system – was one of two states singled out by the feds for poor performance.
5. The Burlington School District plan to build a new high school in four years raises questions about funding, and other school districts following suit.
6. Schools going to universal Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner – with US Dept. of Ag funding. This is a trend towards ‘community schools’ in which public schools provide increasingly more services.
7. The Burlington School District has banned school cops from patrolling onsite. Legislators (both Senate and House), seem determined to kick cops out of schools. At the same time, S16 was signed by Gov. Scott – it aims to keep disruptive minority children from being expelled or suspended.