It was a circular day in the House Ed Committee Room.
There were questions about the process, questions about what was to be delivered. Questions about whether working on governance changes should even be part of Challenges for Change. Apparently the deadline for submitting proposed changes to statute is on Friday.
Rep. Kilmartin went to bat for choice this morning, which I am sure resulted in the idea that maybe they shouldn't mess with governance at this point.
Discussion went round and round a few times about approach to the problem, and even defining what the problem is. Finally in the afternoon the consultant who helped develop the Challenges for Change program came into the committee and reiterated that CfC is about looking at desired outcomes and restructuring PK-12 education delivery to find the savings.
The Committee pushed back that the items the Dept of Ed was supposed to deliver as part of the recommendations wer never delivered, and also pointed out that the Commissioner's number one option (consolidation) is not possible to implement within the time frame required for fiscal savings, so why was it suggested at all?
The Committee is frustrated and feeling very pressured.
A question came up whether education is a function of the state or municipality. It looks like tomorrow legal counsel is coming in to discuss the Brigham decision (The state Supreme court case which is responsible for our current education tax scheme ensuring equity of opportunity in education.)
There seems to be a disconnect between what the CfC/administration thinks about the value of this process and approaching it from the "bettering outcomes for less money" angle, and the realities of the complexity of education law in Vermont, and the great variety in our educational landscape.
There was a lot of discussion in the morning about the Bennington hearing and how many parents spoke out for choice, and frustration with how we fund education in this state.
The Senate Ed committee was supposed to discuss the hearing today but ran out of time, they have it scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.
The House Ed committee is taking testimony from Rep. Frank Geier tomorrow about his plan for educational change, followed by testimony on the Brigham decision.
The "In The News" page has plenty of NEW local news articles posted.
Morning: We're in the House Education Committee right now. The conversation is quickly evolving, and governance change may be taken off the table because it does not address $$ outcomes for Challenges for Change. This thing is a serious see-saw they way they come to and back away from choice and governance.
There was a lot of talk about Bennington's hearing. Good job everyone!
It sounds like they have a deadline extension of Friday to respond to Vilaseca's CfC suggestions. Their mandate is to suggest any statutory changes by Friday, and there is a meeting happening today to clarify statutory law vs. session law changes that could be presented on Friday.