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NCLB Outrages

BACK TO BASICS: Kudos to the Vermont State Board of Education

by Susan Ohanian

On Monday Oct. 3, I listened in on a special meeting of the Vermont Board of Education via conference call. Commissioner of Education Armando Vilaseca pushed the Board for the go-ahead to submit a waiver application to the U. S. Department of Education for relief from some of the more troubling parts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB)--or as the Feds call it "ESEA Flexibility Design."

Vilaseca sought Board approval to send a not-yet-written waiver. Board members balked. Longtime Vermont schools superintendent and current managing director of the National Education Policy Center William Mathis said, "I'm not about to write such a blank check. We don't need to be rushed like this--like we're being hustled by a used care salesman."

Commissioner Vilaseca denied that it was a blank check, insisting, "our stakeholders" have been involved in the waiver process." As someone who has been trying to follow the activities of our state education functionaires fairly closely, I was so stunned by this assertion that I wrote it down. When the statement was repeated, I wrote it down again. Later I wrote Commissioner Vilaseca, Board Chair Fayneese Miller, and four employees of the Vermont State Department of Education, asking for a schedule of the stakeholder meetings. I also asked if these meetings are open to the public. The three responses I received offered three different versions of just who the stakeholders are and whether the stakeholders have ever met. No one answered my question of whether such meetings are open to the public. . . .

Please read the rest of this account at my Vermont Commons blog

— Susan Ohanian
Vermont Commoons


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