Of the 6,000 or so Vermonters about to graduate from high school, more than 2,000 are unlikely to further their education after June. They will join a growing cohort of young Vermonters who lack the credentials necessary to succeed in our economy. In fact, Vermont has the lowest college enrollment rate in New England.
Removing Barriers: Education in Vermont
When you hear “the 1%,” you likely think of our society’s shorthand for those with extreme wealth. It’s unlikely you think of the 6,900 Vermonters who have served in the armed forces since September 11, 2001. These and the other 2.7 million post-9/11 veterans represent 1% of the U.S. population and sometimes call themselves “the other 1%.” They, too, have a wealth of experience and skills to share.
The last six months have been an education for me. What I learned made me excited for the educational system that my two little boys are heading into here in Vermont – and convinced of the need for continued focus on practical and equitable solutions to our state’s continuing educational challenges.
In his recent blog, A Call to Action, Stuart Comstock-Gay, CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation and McClure Foundation board member, explores the “opportunity gap” in America and, in doing so, he speaks eloquently for the McClure Foundation’s vision for Vermont’s marginalized students and our underemployed adults.
Since the 2014 elections became old news, there’s been no shortage of essays, blogs, speeches, and broad proclamations bemoaning the state of American education. “Teaching has been replaced by testing,” we are told. “Liberal Arts have been overshadowed by STEM.” “Workforce prep has replaced higher thought.” Students themselves are often lost sight of as powerful players proclaim what’s right and what’s wrong with education in this country. Luckily, here in Vermont, plenty of inclusive conversations and diligent hard work across multiple sectors in the last couple of years has moved education forward for students.