Vermont: Good results, weak reforms

In ALEC’s Report Card on American Education, Vermont is ranked first in the nation for educating low-income children, but gets a D on its reform policies. Well, maybe Vermont doesn’t need to reform. Massachusetts, second in performance, gets a C; Florida, ranked third, gets ALEC’s highest reform grade, a B+.

For once, the District of Columbia (C for reform) isn’t on the bottom of the rankings: Looking at the performance of low-income students, the tail enders are Michigan (B- on reform), West Virginia (C)  and South Carolina (B).

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  1. Vermont is 98% white, which means its low income students are also predominantly white, and low income whites perform better, on average, than high income blacks.

    Really, all the garbage about educational policy, teacher quality, testing, blah blah blah is just so much wait, I said garbage already.

  2. Whenever reformers talk to us teachers, the refrain remains the same. “Reform yourselves.” To what goal? What specific changes are you talking about?

    “Just reform” is the answer.

    Reform for its own sake is stupid.

  3. One of the little-mentioned elephants in the room is student mobility. A school with a stable student population, even if poor, will do better than a school where half of the kids change every year. I went to a school like that; many of our families didn’t have much money but almost all of us had married parents (another big plus), behaved decently and stayed in the school for 12 years (no kindergarten).

  4. “Reform for its own sake is stupid.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been to several PD sessions where people discussed changes that, in my view, would not address certain fundamental problems. I remember asking one speaker why they went this way.

    “Well, we had to do SOMETHING,” he declared.

    Actually, what they had to do was something effective and worthwhile. I marvel at people making many times my salary yet unable, or perhaps unwilling, to make that distinction.