John Klar: Vermont second most expensive public school system in America relative to citizen income

With public school enrollment plunging in Vermont, the state’s public schools face an ongoing crisis. The number of students in Vermont public schools has declined for decades, but COVID masking and vaccination requirements pushed many families out of the schools when those declining to terrorize their healthy children were denied equivalent schooling.

Additional pressures have arisen from imposition of gender pronoun selections for young children, gender hormone therapy without parental awareness, sexualization of children with graphic pornographic materials, traumatizing children with politicized “active shooter drills,” and the infliction of experimental ideological “theories” about social justice, gender, and race (about which the Vermont public school system has blatantly lied). These have all pushed parents to shift their children to private schools or homeschooling (or to flee the state).

John Klar

Sadly, this often leaves low income Vermont families least able to escape the perverse abuse of their children by these anxiety-provoking, nontraditional policies. Rather than heed parental concerns, Vermont’s public school bureaucracy is waging war against them, and some progressive leaders have even said they will eliminate all existing school voucher programs rather than fund religious private schools (after trying to inflict state standards for permissibility that were very clearly unconstitutional).

Vermont doesn’t lose teachers, or superintendents, or other school employees, at the rate it is shedding pupils. The opposite appears to be the case: public school salaries rise faster than taxpayers’ incomes. This means Vermont is becoming more and more expensive per student, even as student math and reading proficiency are anemic. But hey, it’s all about diversity, inclusion, and skin color now, right?

Waging war on parents is pretty silly, but when the partisan tyranny in Vermont schools harms children, bureaucrats circle the wagons to protect their salaries and personal political beliefs above those they are paid to teach. As costs escalate and test scores decline, where will Vermont’s schools be in 10 years?

Here is an updated look at Vermont’s school system. Statistics for education spending and school performance vary, so I here simply compare apples with apples, using the same data from different sites to reveal some frightening trends.

Here are the top five most expensive per pupil state school systems in America, with a comparative of median income and the resultant income-adjusted percentage of school spending for each state:

State Per Pupil Expenditure Median Income % of Median Income
New York $24,040 $64,894 37%
Wash D.C. $22,759 $82,336 27.64%
Connecticut $20,635 $74,168 27.82%
New Jersey $20,021 $80,088 25%
Vermont $19,400 $57,531 33.72%

Thus, Vermont continues to rank No. 2 most expensive public school system in America relative to citizen income.

Public school spending was already spiking prior to COVID: a U.S. Census Report concluded that in 2019, schools spending saw “the largest increase in more than a decade,” and then listed the states above as the top five. Vermont has been increasing spending year after year, even as students leave for other states or better local schools. There is no accountability for either cost or performance.

Local autonomy was withdrawn from Vermont communities through Act 46 with promises of increased fairness, lower costs, and improved performance: all three have instead worsened. It could be that inflicting social emotional learning (CRT and gender indoctrination in disguise) and other novel experiments based on unproven, extremely divisive political theories is undermining the preparation of students for the future workforce in areas such as math and reading. The statistics support that conclusion.

The national average math proficiency is 47%; New York in 2022 tested at 55%; Vermont at 40%. Similarly, New York’s reading proficiency is 55%, compared with Vermont’s 51%, the national average. Spending on a Cadillac education in Vermont yields a used car outcome. New York has a 3:1 student-teacher ratio; Vermont’s is 11:1. Connecticut’s ratio is 12:1, and its students score 47% math proficiency and 58% in reading.

Then there are states like Idaho, which spends merely $9,251 per pupil (17.7% of the state median income of $52,225), achieving 44% math proficiency and 55% reading, with a student-teacher ratio of 18:1. So much for social justice experimentation.

While screaming social justice warriors claim everything in America is about skin color and slavery, clearly Vermont’s white students are not very educationally privileged. Idaho ranks #10 whitest state in the nation; Vermont #2. Virginia has a much more diverse student body, and boasts a 78% reading proficiency. (Virginia pays $12,216 per pupil on an average median income of $71,535, or 17.1% – even lower than Idaho’s).

Perhaps Vermont just needs to import more BIPOC students — the Virgin Islands has a 1% white student population, and achieved 75% reading proficiency and the highest proficiency in math in the nation, at 90%! Perhaps Vermonters should just ship their kids off to the Virgin Islands for school — but don’t expect vouchers to refund wasted Vermont tax dollars: these parents will have to pay for both a good private education system and Vermont’s failing one.

For students being left behind, who will protect them? Anxiety and depression inculcated via race, gender, climate, and sexual propaganda, and active shooter drills will continue to be inflicted upon them by disconnected progressives. State Sen. Becca Balint in campaign ads boasts that she is “proud” of having introduced active shooter drills in Vermont schools.

One need not possess maximum reading proficiency to comprehend how sinister this has become. Even the partisan Gifford Law Center has been compelled to admit the travesty of which Balint remains oblivious in her boasts:

Drills and trainings are “well-intentioned,” but they “exacerbate underlying fears of gun violence,” the report stated. “These drills, however, can intensify the fear of gun violence children already suffer and train them to persistently worry about their own safety.”

What’s next? How much gratuitously-inflicted anxiety can these poor kids take?

Vermont parents are advised to pressure Vermont schools to prioritize math and reading instruction, so their children do not end up permanent basket-case wards of a runaway bureaucracy overseen by cruel elitists.

Statistically it is clear: their children are at more certain risk from this failed curriculum than they are from deranged gunmen.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2022. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Agency of Education Facebook page
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8 thoughts on “John Klar: Vermont second most expensive public school system in America relative to citizen income

  1. Hey, federal & state educational regimes will deny any ongoing damage to youngsters & defend their ‘woke’ & illiterate agendas while dishonestly claiming educational alternatives are bad.

  2. School Choice across the board…….the $ follows the child…..creates competition….education improves
    Vouchers for every kid……

  3. Vermont, so what are you getting for your $19,400 per student, a complete
    indoctrination into socialist agenda, an education in subjects to make your
    kids, productive adults not so much !!

    Just remember, these are your kids, so ask yourself are my kids going to really
    survive in the real world when a good education, that’s needed to succeed !!

    Wake up people, it’s all up to you……………………………….

  4. Well, here’s another thing. At over 65 years old, I’m forced to pay for teacher benefits that I don’t have myself. Teachers make good wages now, why not convert to a 401K retirement and a larger contribution to their healthcare? The state is $5,000,000,000.00 (5 billion) in debt to state and teacher retirement funds. While I struggle and have to work to pay my way with no pension, I have to pay for a nice retirement for someone else. UNIONS

  5. Unions & the NEA. They control you…and Unions all vote Democrat and contribute money to….Democrats. They are interwtined : Democrat=Union=Teachers =Money=Power.

    When was the last time you heard of a unionsized teacher getting fired in VT, for poor perrformance or inability to do the job? NEVER! It does not happen! Once a unionized teacher, it is job for life…no matter HOW terrible you are at teaching kids. Kids don’t matter. It’s the Union. I had experience w/ that…elementary school. A documented horrible teacher…kids were having nightmares. eventuallly the union just shifted her around (like a Catholic pedophile priest)…different classes, later a different school. OR this? the teacher – , junior high…he taught BOTH my kids that we did not land on the moon- it was all faked, on a Hollywood movie set – to bolster the ‘Military Industrial Complex”.

    It is time to start firing union teachers who do not, cannot…perfrom their job. Private sector employers can fire poor employees. Not teachers union! It’s job for life, no matter how bad you are.

    • …Or — re-empower parents as the educators of their kids and liberate schools and teachers as a market providing vended services. If the legislature were to release parents to select schools/teachers/curriculum, (i.e., a la carte schooling), wouldn’t our festering difficulties…our bondage to this failed monolith evaporate?

      • Vincent C…., it is all about the “No Child Left Behind” act…I see how that idea is very noble “in thought”…but what it accomplishes- in REALITY, is a dumbing down of all…education to the LOWEST COMMON DEMONINATOR…and constant VT low test results are proof of that.. Kids that work hard, study hard, responsible… and are very bright? They get short changed…”dumbo down” classes. Our school could not offer (no funds) opportunity for brightest & hard working…No AP was available. In VT it is all about “equality”..and to do that… lowest common denominator….No matter how much VT spends $$$ per child…test results will always stink in VT. You can bet your Bippy that China, Russia and most other advanced countries are OPPOSITE of us….they focus on making kids the best they can be…,.not “Dumb and Dumber” as in VT kids.

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