1-26-16 – National School Choice Week

by John McClaughry

This week is National School Choice Week, and here in Vermont the pending question is whether our long tradition of parental choice in tuitioning towns can survive the state pressure for consolidation of public schools into unified megadistricts.

The State Board of Education has opined that a consolidated district must be either all choice or no choice. I don’t know where they came by this opinion because it’s not anywhere in the law, but it may have come from the staff lawyer who drafted Act 46 and is now overseeing consolidations, who happens to be married to an official of the teachers union..

Two bills have been introduced to preserve school choice, one by Senator Rich Westman and the other by Representative Heidi Scheuermann. At a hearing, Westman said, “When I voted for what became Act 46 this past year, I did not realize that in the case of an Elmore that they would be giving up school choice.” Senate Education Committee Chairwoman, Anne Cummings, piped in, “Neither did we!” She reiterated later, “I don’t think any of us here wanted to do that. The discussion last year was that if you have choice, we’re not taking the choice away from you.”

So there is some bipartisan concern for protecting parental choice in towns that merge into unified districts. You can help that along by letting your legislators know that you want to see school choice protected and growing.

– John McClaughry is the founder and vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

samuel shultis January 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

“The discussion last year was that if you have choice, we’re not taking the choice away from you.”

How did we get from education to health care ?

Wait …. that wasn’t Obama …. sorry

Reply

Jim Bulmer January 30, 2016 at 2:54 pm

After the pillow talk, the good lawyer has seen the error of his ways and is now revising his interpretation of what Act 46 actually says. Unfortunately for him, the law is written in stone. You can play around the edges, but the center never changes.

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