AOE seeks feedback on state plan for ed. recovery, use of federal COVID-19 funds for education

For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 23, 2021

Ted Fisher,

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) is soliciting feedback from stakeholders and the public on the draft Building for the Future: Vermont’s Plan for Education Recovery and Beyond. The plan is a requirement of Vermont’s Act 74 and the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARP Act), and charts how the state will spend federal Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funding, and prioritize these resources for Education Recovery and our pathway out of the pandemic.

The AOE is required to collect stakeholder feedback on this plan before the final version is submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in August. The full draft plan and a Summary and Overview are available on the AOE website. Please email comments to Comments should be returned by August 13, 2021.

“Vermont schools were very successful in navigating the health and safety requirements last year, and prioritizing student learning,” said Secretary of Education Dan French. “With the vast majority of our schools open for in-person or hybrid instruction last year, Vermont had a luxury not afforded to many other states, which was the time to begin the process of identifying what Vermont needs to help students, staff and school systems recover from the pandemic. Working with the Vermont General Assembly, education leaders, educators and community members, we have already begun the important work of developing a plan that is responsive to the needs of Vermonters.”

While the planning process is a critical part of meeting the requirements of state and federal legislation, it is also a key component of the overall Education Recovery process, which began in January 2021. Education Recovery in Vermont focuses on three key focus areas: social emotional learning and mental health, student engagement, and academic success. Each SU/SD was required to develop a plan to assess and address needs in their communities; they will be able to bring to bear significant resources to assist with education recovery from the federal government via the ESSER funds.

“Education recovery is critical to navigating the next phase of the pandemic and setting our schools up for success, not only in addressing the impacts of COVID-19, but also to move forward to address the future of Vermont education,” said Deputy Secretary Heather Bouchey. “It is important to keep in mind that the impacts to students are not limited to just academics. Federal funding and this planning effort will make sure Vermont school systems have what they need not only to help our students through the end of this crisis, but to be successful in the coming years.”

Vermont began its Education Recovery planning process in the winter of 2021, with significant engagement with educators, education leaders, and the public. Vermont required supervisory unions and districts (SU/SDs) to undertake an education recovery planning process in the spring; SU/SDs are also required by the ARP Act to develop their own local plans for spending their ARP ESSER allocations. The AOE worked with the General Assembly to target and prioritize funding, to support school districts’ continued needs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, to implement Education Recovery, and to address longstanding needs and challenges that Vermont must tackle in order for the education system to be successful in the coming years.

5 thoughts on “AOE seeks feedback on state plan for ed. recovery, use of federal COVID-19 funds for education

  1. Public education in Vermont, thanks to the AOE and the teachers under it, is of very little value when compared to the 49 other states. I mean, the percentage of students achieving math proficiency in Vermont is 42%. The percentage of students achieving reading proficiency is 52%. That’s NOT GOOD. Yet the greedy, overbearing teacher’s union wants a piece of the $$ pie? You have to be kidding! At whose expense? Wait, wait, don’t tell me…. some other bureaucratic organization that is also not making constructive contributions to the state. Vermont parents need to wake up and put pressure on the schools to either shape up or get another job.

  2. Whatever your assessment of the public education monopoly is, for it, against it, or simply ambivalent, the one glaring principle that continues to be ignored in these so-called evaluations happens to be the one tenant that will right the entire ship…. SCHOOL CHOICE!

  3. Here is some feedback:

    I have had enough of Vermont’s Education bureaucracy…..and a lot more than enough
    of TEACHER’S UNIONS….. a ton more than enough of subsidies for non working teachers.
    ETC. Way too many of you—all wildly overpaid—very few are even competent, “Those who can’t…..”

  4. On point Jay. Fake news to think this feedback will amount to anything. We’ve dumped ridiculous amounts of money into Proficiency Based Learning and diversity “administrators” while performance plummets as a result. Now schools are wasting “Covid money” on ridiculous expenses that do not help student learning and outcomes. Look to the Seven Days article where bipoc students are paid to come
    to school to make up racism stories so the diversity department will always have something to work on.
    . These kids are being paid $15/hr with COVID money! The CVU district just hired a “Diversity Director”, admin level $$$ and there’s no job. The new director will be creating the job as she goes along, “Because the role is new, Arsenault anticipates that Rodriguez will have a big part in defining what it is exactly.”
    We are focusing and spending millions upon millions on all the wrong things. Until we get back to the three R’s, we’re doomed to ridiculous property taxes and horrible outcomes from our public schools.

  5. Sorry, folks, for being so cynical. But that the AOE is required to collect stakeholder feedback (TNR readers ostensibly being one and the same), there is nothing requiring the AOE to incorporate that feedback into ‘the plan’, with the exception of checking off the box that it actually did solicit feedback.

    In fact, the draft for public comment already claims, on page 6, that “By engaging with Vermont’s education stakeholders, the AOE identified three critical focus areas for education recovery: academic success, mental health and social emotional learning, and student engagement.”

    And while Part C says, “US ED requires SEAs to seek input from diverse stakeholders to ensure plans are responsive to the needs of students, families and educators”, again, the draft claims ‘the AOE ‘identified’ three critical areas…’. In case you missed it, that’s in the past tense. The three critical areas have already been identified.

    So, this announcement, ‘for immediate release, dated July 23, 2021, is so much window dressing from the public-school monopoly, qualifying it for ever more funding, to do with as the monopoly chooses. And not one of the three critical areas already determined gives mention to economic efficiencies.

    There is however one perfunctory mention of ‘efficiencies in the Data Management and Analysis Division’. But it is immediately followed by the disclaimer that ‘this system at present, it is not a feasible long-term solution if this collection is required for longer than SY21’.

    Clearly, the AOE strategy is to talk us to death with 47 more pages of gobbledygook (go ahead, read it), while providing diminished outcomes, and continuing to take all of our money to feather its nest. If anything, this is the public-school monopoly’s version of the ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Plan.

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