The following is an opinion piece by blog contributor, Stuart Lindberg:
H.833, the school governance restructuring bill working it’s way through the Vermont House education committee is a disaster in the making. Lawmakers hold out Burlington’s school governance as a model for the rest of Vermont to follow. So what is it that is so special about Burlington’s school governance that is so exemplary. Is it Burlington’s efficient use of tax payer dollars? Probably not. Burlington’s school budget has gone from $37 million dollars in 2008 to $63 million in 2013. Johanna Donovan (D) is the chair of the Vermont House education committee. She represents Burlington in the Vermont legislature. She is leading the charge to get rid of local school boards in order to improve educational “outcomes” for students. So what are the “outcomes” of Miss Donovan’s Burlington school district. 64% of Burlington’s 11 graders are below proficient in the NECAP Math testing. 72% are below proficient in science, 54% are below proficient in writing and 38% are below proficient in reading. In old school terminology “below proficient” means “failing.“ So what does Burlington’s school governance model have to offer? Big budgets, big spending and poor results. This is the model the rest of Vermont should follow? Shap Smith (D) Speaker of the Vermont house of representatives says that Vermont’s century old school governance model is outdated and needs to be updated so “we don’t leave Vermont’s children behind.” Sounds good Mr. Speaker but if Burlington is the model Vermont’s Democratic supermajority wants the rest of us to follow than you can be assured most of our children will be left behind.
As for Ms. Donovan, in her own words, says she is “one of the greatest opponents of school choice in the legislature“, yet she herself attended a private school. “Why is it Ms. Donovan’s business, or any politicians, to be involved with the outcome of my child’s education?
The “outcome” of my child’s education belongs to me, my child and their teachers. If you don’t like what the legislature is doing with our schools then call your local state representative and tell them NO on restructuring school governance. Remember there is an election in November. Your vote can make a difference.