I had the pleasure this past week of speaking to colleagues, policy makers and business leaders at a Celebration of Public Education event in Williston, VT. I believe deeply in public education as a civil right and want to share my comments here, in case they ring a bell for you.
Schools throughout Vermont play a tremendous role in preparing our students in our communities to be productive adults. We need educators, local business and community leaders, parents and the media throughout our community to help lead, shape and grow the broad dialogue to support public education.
I believe in public school education. I believe in its messiness, its democracy. I believe in how teaching is a calling and we serve every child regardless of race, wealth, background, color of hair or number of toes. I believe our state and country is stronger because we accept every child and offer rich opportunities and support in reaching their potential.
I am excited about the future of public education in VT because of our commitment to the future of our state and our innovation! Public school education in Vermont focuses on more than academic achievement. We want to provide arts opportunities (resulting in the students here today sharing their talents with you), student voice opportunities (such as our 2 CVU co-presidents will provide), personalized learning opportunities. We teach to student passions and listen to student solutions, such as in the current Burlington class that uses Lake Champlain as a classroom or Otter Valley Union High School’s outdoor education program on the Mooselamoo land. All over our state, we offer rich opportunities and access to our students, we work with our state and federal legislators and policy makers to ensure our education system is as strong as it can be. We are fortunate; our kids are fortunate.
It is my vision that VT remains a leader in education, committed to our students and our future. I envision a system that educates for the future, not the past; a system that ensure all students have access to a rich curriculum no matter their zipcode; a system that works with partners such as early childhood and the business community to ensure all kids can follow their passion and learn in authentic settings, building our business community and ensuring we have a workforce that supports the future of Vermont.