Vermont students: Top of the class or not?

The Rutland Herald put the Higgins gloss on it: In an Oct. 16 editorial, the editors assert that "Vermont's high test rankings" show that the "low student-teacher ratio is good for students but hard on taxpayers" without ever mentioning Utah, which has the highest p/t ratio in the nation (22 compared to Vermont's 11) has roughly half the per-pupil spending cost as a result, and whose students came in at 262 for 8th grade reading, 1 point above the 261 U.S. average, and 11 points below the 273 Vermont average, but at half the Vermont cost.

All these mid-200s scores are about half of the possible 500, which explains why all the proficiency percentages cluster in the 30-to-40 range, meaning that a clear majority of students-U.S., Vermont and Utah-can't read well enough to even make proficient. Sometimes it's politically expedient to pronounce correctly, but not to recite the stats.

As for the obvious educator objective-that is, bringing most of their students to "proficiency"-some Vermont officials have been claiming that actually getting students literate and numerate isn't in their job description.

Retired Vermont school architect Martin Harris lives in Tennessee.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment