By any calculation, Vermont spends a lot on public schools, and by the most common approach to assessing school quality, it gets what it pays for.
In the weeks before the inauguration of the first set of national education standards, reception in Vermont ranges from fervently enthusiastic to cautiously optimistic to skeptical. Rebecca Holcombe, secretary of the Agency of Education, said she has confidence teachers will “give it their best shot.” “I just know that the genuine change, as opposed to window dressing, takes a few years,” Holcombe said. “And I want to encourage genuine change.”
The small liberal arts school is plagued by debt and some students and faculty members express doubt that President Christine Plunkett can lead them out of the crisis. The school is selling some of its lakeside property to make ends meet and does not expect to have enough money to pay the summer payroll.