5% of Vermont school children now home schooled

By Guy Page

Five percent of Vermont schoolchildren – one in 20 – are being home schooled, according to statistics received from the Vermont Agency of Education.

A total of 79,836 students are enrolled in Vermont public schools during the 2020 school year, according to the Vermont Agency of Education dashboard. That’s down from 83,710 in the 2019 school year.

Public school enrollment has been dropping steadily due to demographics since at least 2004, when enrollment was 93,347. This year’s large increase is mostly attributed to concerns about the pandemic: health risks, reduction of in-person learning, and strict in-school regulations. 

An estimated 4,000 students who are not enrolled in public schools are being homeschooled, a 100% increase over last year, Agency of Education Secretary Dan French said at a press conference earlier this week. Home school advocates say enrollment in 2018 was 2295, and in 2019 was about the same. Also, private school officials report strong enrollment. 

The growing numbers of Vermont students in multi-household homeschooling groups got some good news earlier this week when a state official said the governor’s restrictions on multi-household gatherings do not apply to educational groups.

The public school system’s adaptation to the pandemic – hybrid learning where students spend some days at school, and others at home – leaves many students behind educationally, Sabina Brochu, a student member of the Vermont State Board of Education said at Gov. Scott’s press conference. “I know people who are struggling, who are failing with online learning. We need to go back into school….there’s a reason that school has been done in person five days a week. That’s how it works best.”

In a recent study shared at today’s press conference, three-quarters of Chittenden County students feel “protected” or “super protected” from Covid-19 at school. On the other hand, the solution isn’t just to ignore the pandemic, Brochu said: “I’m scared to go back to school after Thanksgiving break. I know there will be kids who travel on Thanksgiving – Christmas break.”  She said she hopes people observe safety measures over the break. French said that schools are among the safest places for students and staff.

Categories: Education

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5 replies »

  1. everyone who was for HB688 without reading the serious ramifications of this bill need to not cry when they go to heat their homes without oil or at least natural gas. We will be forced to change the way we heat and that change will be expensive. our elected officials, lie Pontius Pilate washed their hands of the carbon problem and handed it over to 23 people who can exercise severe penalties, severe taxes on our gas, heating oil, natural gas. They have been granted that right by our legislators. Buy them all some hand soap. Cheryl Cote

  2. This raises several questions: 1. If student enrollment has been declining since 2004 how is that school taxes continue to rise? 2. If private school attendance is strong they must be gaining students from public schools. The virus is the same in public schools as it is in private schools so it must be attributed to different school policies rather than the perceived threat. 3. Why are educational groups exempt from restrictions applied to the greater population to include churches and Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations? In fact I know the answers to these. It is appalling that this pandemic has led us to this. Perhaps the election of stronger more secure leaders can get us out of this idiotic plight we find ourselves in.

  3. Re: “A total of 79,836 students are enrolled in Vermont public schools during the 2020 school year, according to the Vermont Agency of Education dashboard. That’s down from 83,710 in the 2019 school year.”

    Keep in mind, Guy, that nearly 9000 of those students are a recent catagory of partime pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) and Early Essentail Education (EEE) students. Vermont’s traditional K-12 student enrollment is, today, about 72,000, a 30% decline from its peak of 103,000 just 20 years ago.

    But enrollment decline is only half the story. For example, while my local K-6 school district enrollments have declined at an even faster 45% rate over that time period, our local Education Tax has doubled. Furthermore, only 50% of our students meet grade level standards.

    Twice the cost, half the kids, and only half of that half receive a reasonable education outcome.

  4. “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell 1984

    The public education monopoly is, today, the single greatest threat to our American Republic. Hopefully, Homeschoolers and School Choice advocates will lead the way out of this tyranny. It is essential that they lead the way.

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