Agency of Education creating parent council

By Brent Addleman | The Center Square

Getting parents more involved in their children’s education in Vermont is the focus of a new council.

Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

Daniel French, Secretary of the Agency of Education

The Agency of Education announced it is creating a Family Engagement Council, which is designed to advise the secretary of education on policy and topics of interest of parents in Vermont.

“The idea for this group was born out of an observation that there is not a strong state-level mechanism for parent involvement in the development of Vermont education policy,” Secretary of Education Dan French said in a release. “We need to incorporate parent voices in the development of state-level education policy to ensure our policies are meeting the future needs of our students.”

According to the release, the council will be comprised of 10 to 15 parents, guardians, and family members of students who are enrolled in schools in Vermont. The agency is currently seeking applications for those interested in serving on the council.

Education policy, according to the release, will be the focus of the council, which is designed to establish a modern-day education system in the state that would work to support future success of students.

Vermont looked at models in North Carolina, North Dakota and Connecticut to fully establish the educational policy development process in the state.

“We have partners representing almost every other group in education,” French said in the release. “From superintendents and school board members, to educators, school counselors and facilities managers, we have groups organized to provide a voice for their members at the state and local level.

“There is no organization providing a similar voice for parents. This group won’t be an answer for every challenge, but our goal is to incorporate parent involvement in AOE’s policy development process and provide a platform for parents to participate in statewide conversations on education policy.”

French said he will appoint members to two-year terms, and membership is to be modeled after the state’s geographic, gender, socio-economic, and racial and ethnic diversities.

In the first year, according to the release, the council’s focus will be on education quality and equity.

Applications are due by Dec. 18 to be considered for the council, according to the release. The first meeting is scheduled for January 2023.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

3 thoughts on “Agency of Education creating parent council

  1. If the AOE wants more parental involvement, all it has to do is honor parental requests to tuition their children to the school the parents feel best meets the needs of their children. It’s just that simple.

    • Hi Jay,
      The only way that I’d have any faith in this at all is if the parents formed it themselves and it was completely independent of the school district in every way.

      I can think of a mile of issues with what he’s proposing and I’m sure you can too.

      Looking to the government [or the school] to heal it’s own problems is pretty laughable.

      Just like they are not going to give you the education that it takes to overthrow them- they are not going to give you the committee to do it either.

      • Laura, I didn’t say the AOE would promote School Choice, only that doing so was a certain way to achieve more parental involvment.

        But in some cases in Vermont it’s not up to the AOE but local school boards.

        V.S.A. 16 Education, Chapter 21: Maintenance Of Public Schools
        § 822. School district to maintain public high schools or pay tuition
        (c)(1) A school district may both maintain a high school and furnish high school education by paying tuition:
        (B) to an approved independent school or an independent school meeting education quality standards if the school board judges that a student has unique educational needs that cannot be served within the district or at a nearby public school.
        (2) The judgment of the board shall be final in regard to the institution the students may attend at public cost.

        Of course, we know that all students have unique educational needs, so the parents who want to send their kids to alternative independent schools, including religious schools, should petition their school board. And if the school board refuses to acknowledge the request, elect school boards sympathetic to parental choices…. or sue them.

        The ball is now in your court, parents. Go for it.

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