Monday, December 14, 2009

Matt Dunne running for Governor of Vermont

One of our own, Matt Dunne, is running for Governor of Vermont.  If you'd like to meet him (and are in NYC), please come to this event tomorrow:
Tuesday, December 15th from 5:30-6:30
Home of Jack Schneider
10 East 75th Street, Between Madison and Fifth

When you think of education reform, Vermont might not come to mind, but it's pretty interesting for a number of reasons, including having the oldest public school voucher program in the country (which, incidentally, my best friend in high school used to attend an out-of-state prep school, Northfield Mt. Hermon).  Matt outlines his vision for education reform in Vermont in this note I asked him to send me so I could share it with you:

Matt grew up in a household committed to justice, service and transforming education in America. Elected at the age of 22 to the Vermont House of Representatives, his experience includes 11 years in the Vermont House and Senate, National Director of AmeriCorps*VISTA, Marketing Director for a Vermont-based, global software company and currently is the Head of Community Affairs for Google. Matt's background and his multi-generational roots in the state makes him the strongest candidate to bring transformational change to Vermont that will allow the progressive state to pave the way for education reform at the national level.

Vermont is currently facing a financial crisis on a number of fronts.  In education, the state is losing school aged children at a rapid rate causing a significant increase in per pupil education costs and risks damaging educational achievement as schools are not able to provide the diversity of courses necessary for an individual to participate in the global marketplace. Matt, however, sees this crisis as an opportunity.  Current Vermont law uniquely provides opportunities for creativity in education reform as well as a scale (92,000 school aged children) that can pilot education innovations that other states can then replicate.

 Current school reform law:

·         Vermont has the oldest public school voucher program in the country.  Students in towns too small for a high school can attend any other public school in the state (or neighboring states) or can receive the average in-state public school tuition towards attending a private school.

·         Vermont's "academy provisions" allows for communities to develop innovative, publically designated schools to compete for students who do not have their own high school.

·         Vermont also has in-district school choice for those students in towns with high schools.

 Matt's Vision - Vermont schools would lead the nation in innovation, empowered leadership, and excellence.

·         Encouraging creative education solutions through our academy system

·         Distance learning to address curriculum offerings in rural schools

·         Reduce governance divisions (supervisory unions) by half to reduce costs and increase collaboration across schools

·         Statewide electronic student record for true accountability measurement and early identification of issues and opportunities

·         Leverage cloud computing to increase collaboration between parents, students and teachers at lower costs than current IT solutions

·         Provide all students the opportunity to use their per pupil allocation to study in a foreign country for a semester regardless of financial ability

·         Ensure that every Vermont child has access to quality early education and set a standard for lowering special education needs.

·         Guaranteeing that every Vermonter who serves in Peace Corps or AmeriCorps could graduate from UVM or a state college debt-free.

 Finally, here's an article about Matt:

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