I have received many comments from readers nominating their state as the worst in the nation for having enacted legislations that removes due process from teachers or reduces their status or connects their evaluation to student test scores or defunds public education or harms professional educators and the public weal in other ways.
Vermont is different. Vermont still has leadership that wants to improve its schools and support teachers. Vermont decided to turn down the NCLB waiver when it realized that it provided no flexibility, just another bunch of mandates that would be bad for the schools and for children. Vermont doesn’t want to test its students every single year. Vermont realized that NCLB and Race to the Top are not good for students or education.
Are there other states that refuse the enticements offered by Washington, D.C., to create more market-style competition for public schools and to reduce the status of professional educators?
If your state has had the wisdom and foresight of Vermont, please let me know.
The question we must ask is, why is Vermont different? Why has it stood outside the destructive mainstream of education “deform” that has swept the nation?
We can all take heart in knowing that one beacon of sanity remains. And yet how discouraging to know that of our fifty states, there is only one that still wants children to have a childhood and for education to be a time to learn rather than a time to be ranked, rated, and numbered by instruments of limited value.
A reader sent this comment:
Vermont is one of the only states in the country that refuses to get on the bandwagon for corporate ed. reform. The state has a law against charter schools and they refused Race to the top funds. Vermont did try to get a NCLB waiver, but was rejected by Sec. Duncan because their proposal did not include tying student test scores to teacher evaluations or charter schools. Their proposal did include focusing more on creativity, a rich curriculum, and less on testing, but I guess that was not good enough. I’m getting certification in both Mass. and NY, but I may consider going to teach in Vermont. Burlington is beginning to focus more on equity and creating a system similar to what they have in Finland. If it is successful, then maybe people will begin to pay more attention to what actually works.
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