Year in Review: Act 46 brought big changes in 2017

This article by Derek Carson originally appeared Dec. 27 in the Bennington Banner.

BENNINGTON — When Act 46 was signed into law in 2015, no one knew exactly what to expect from the law that promised to overhaul the way the state’s education system was governed.

In 2017, many communities’ visions for the future began to coalesce, even if many questions still remained.

In March, voters in Londonderry, Weston, Landgrove, Peru, Danby, Mt. Tabor, Manchester, Dorset and Sunderland took a major step forward when they overwhelmingly agreed to form the Taconic and Green Regional School District. The board that will oversee the pre-K through eighth grade district met for the first time in June, and began the massive undertaking of setting up the policies and procedures that will govern the new district when it takes control next July. The new district will continue to be a part of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union, to which all its members belonged.

Elsewhere in the BRSU, Pawlet and Rupert faced a setback when the State Board of Education rejected their merger proposal in September. In a split decision, their merger committee voted in October to pursue a merger without the designation to New York state middle and high schools that had caused the state board to shoot down the proposal, leaving that issue to be decided by the new board and the state legislature. Voters approved a merger of the two school districts in November.

In the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, the merger study committee worked through the summer to put a merger proposal before voters before the deadline for tax incentives on Nov. 30.

Read full article at the Bennington Banner.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

2 thoughts on “Year in Review: Act 46 brought big changes in 2017

  1. Making the Grade: Vermont students fall in the middle of the pack compared with other states.
    https://vtdigger.org/investigations/making-grade-part-2-2/

    “The average percentage of students achieving proficiency this year in Vermont was 48.4 percent, down from 50.92 percent last year.”

    “Students who score proficient or above have mastered the material and are ready for the next grade.”

    And yet Vermont graduates about 90% of its students.

    So…how’s the state public school monopoly doing it for you as we ‘celebrate’ the new year? Are these the changes you expected from Act 46? Are you still convinced Vermont’s education system is one of the best (it’s certainly one of the most expensive) education systems in the country? Do you still think you’re getting the best bang for your buck?

    I just wonder how bad Vermont’s K-12 education costs and performance have to become before voters elect legislators who will at least throw life preservers (i.e. school choice tuition vouchers) to those parents not interested in letting their children go down with the ship of state.

    • Fewer than two percent of Vermont’s students are English Language Learners (ELL). English isn’t their first language. California, on the other hand, has the highest percentage of ELL students in the U.S. (22%), and yet, California’s 11th graders, as a whole, score better in English than Vermont’s 11th graders.

      Despite Vermont’s lower scores, it has one of the highest graduation rates in the country at over 90%. California has an 83% graduation rate.

      And California has the highest percentage of children living in poverty in the U.S. and spends about $9,000 per student. According to the Burlington Free Press, Vermont spends about $18,000 per student.

      Is it any wonder the Vermont AOE says education comparisons aren’t valid?

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