The Vermont Principals Association
Search this site for:

Vermont State Board of Education Comments, 8/18/23 & 9/20/23

State Board Comments on Secretary of Education 9/20/23
Public Comments: My comments are on the open Secretary of Education position from a State Board of Education Meeting on 9/20/23

AOE Leadership and state level leadership is critical to the future of VT educationWe stand on a precipice in which we have some students being openly discriminated against in some schools, partly because our General Assembly chose to not address the Carson V. Makin Supreme Court case that allows money to go to religious schools and other private schools that discriminate.  Whoever the next Secretary is needs to be someone who is committed to Each and Every student regardless of their social class, religion, gender identity, and all demographic and social identities.

By working collectively in the quest to collectively serve all students regardless of their background in an equitable manner we can truly become the Educational State that we all want; the opportunity is great, the challenges are significant and having the right person in that position is paramount.We need a pragmatic and inspiring leader at this time more than any time in my career. From my perspective, the field is begging for leadership and it ideally should come from the AOE’s top leader or leaders.Jay Nichols, VPA Executive Director

State Board Comments, 8/18/23

I recently gave the following comments at the State Board Mtg. My comments are aligned with the direction of our Executive Council that all Vermont children and schools funded by Vermont Taxpayer dollars should be subject to the same rules. Here are my comments in their entirety:

Nichols Public Comments State Board of Education 8/18/23

Good afternoon, for the record, Jay Nichols Executive Director of the Vermont Principals’ Association. The VPA has a deeply shared belief that all Vermont children should be equally valued and that all Vermont children are equally important to our future as a state.

This means that the same set of basic rules for schools should apply for any school, public or private, that is receiving taxpayer supported funds. At the VPA, our Executive Council has dubbed this, “Same Dollars, Same Rules.” This is a mantra we hope the State Board and the Legislature will recognize as one of fundamental fairness going forward and that is essential for the educational and economic vitality of our state.

We have heard that private or independent schools should have a different set of rules. We think that is true if a school is truly independent; however, any school that is receiving taxpayer dollars to operate is not independent; but rather dependent; on the state and therefore should follow the same rules. Let’s move away from our current publicly segregated system and show all Vermont children that we value them equally. Separate but equal did not work to improve our society when minority students were discriminated against after the civil war and into the modern education era and that approach doesn’t work now.

Thank you.

Jay Nichols

*** I want to be very clear that we have many private schools that are members who DO NOT discriminate against any students and the Executive Council and the VPA Team fully supports them and appreciates all they do!