School Funding - Quality Education
Posted Fall 2020
Fairness and equality should remain central to the discussion about educational opportunity and funding. Education in Vermont has a complicated funding structure that I am optimistic can be simplified. However, the principal of equal opportunity must be protected.
Sustainability, quality, accountability, and equity are key elements of Vermont’s recent education reform efforts under Act 46 (An act relating to making amendments to education funding, education spending, and education governance). While these are laudable goals, I believe there are aspects of Act 46 that need revision. I remain unconvinced that the changes mandated in this new law are resulting in significantly lower education costs. The high cost of eduction in Vermont is one of the most common concerns I hear from constituents. Moreover, the options available to existing School Boards to create new school districts are unnecessarily restrictive and come at the expense of loss of local control.
Significant resources and much effort have gone into building our Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union. I will continue to strongly support changes to Act 46 that will provide voters from the four towns represented in the supervisory union with viable options to move forward while meeting the needs of our students and our communities.
We need a plan that will insure the continued viability of the Albert Bridge School in West Windsor. Similarly, we need to move forward in a manner that will provide for the continuing excellence of Windsor High School and provide its students with wide-ranging educational opportunities.
School choice remains an issue of concern to many of my constituents. Choice of high school should remain an option for the students in Hartland as long as the voters continue to support this approach. Although school choice might create budgetary challenges, I recognize the value of a good education. School choice is a great leveler - it can serve to minimize the effect of geographic and socioeconomic factors. A student should not be limited in his or her educational options.
I am opposed to costly state and federal mandates, especially those that impose standardized testing. Education should not be about teaching children to score well on a test. Our public schools need the flexibility to meet the academic needs and creative abilities of all our students.
Vermont does a great job graduating high school students, but ranks rather low in graduating the same students from college or other certificate programs. We need to provide motivation and encouragement for our students to pursue higher education. Individuals who lack a college degree may be denied numerous opportunities in our modern world. Financial barriers and lack of preparation should not be the driving factors for a student’s decision not to pursue a post secondary education. We need to lower the costs associated with a college education.
Maintaining quality education in Vermont is essential. Education is the key to providing for the future of our children. A well-educated populace strengthens our communities and our economy. Seeing that our children have opportunities to excel is high on my priority list.