Education

The home for VPR's coverage of education issues and policy in Vermont.

The Education Team

Follow VPR reporters Amy Kolb Noyes and Howard Weiss-Tisman on Twitter for the latest on education issues across Vermont.

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below

Act 46 | Kids & Parenting | University Of Vermont | Vermont Legislature | Agency of Education

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Captains of the Fairfax-Lamoille football team.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Backed by fans from four high schools in two counties, the Fairfax-Lamoille Bullets play their last football game of the regular season on Saturday. If they make it past Otter Valley, the team will go into the postseason with a perfect 8-0 record.

Starting early last year, the nation's most powerful consumer protection agency sent examiners into companies that run student loan call centers to try to fix a troubled loan forgiveness program. But the Department of Education blocked the bureau from getting the information it needed, NPR has learned.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is designed to help firefighters, military service members, nonprofit workers and others. But thousands of people say they were treated unfairly and rejected.

Students sit outside on a grassy quad.
Tony Talbot / Associated Press File

For the past year, Goddard College, in Plainfield, has been operating under accreditation probation for not meeting financial standards and other problems. In that time, Goddard has brought on a new president, cut staff and focused on fundraising.

A working kaleidoscope sculpture on the Green Mountain College campus in Poultney.
Dan Roberts, courtesy

Dan Roberts was never a student at Green Mountain College, but the now-closed campus in Poultney still played a big part in his life. He grew up about 15 minutes from the school, and he has childhood memories of playing with a 12-foot kaleidoscope that — until this week — stood on the school grounds.

The exerior of a building at Green Mountain College
Nina Keck / VPR File

Tell us: What do you want to know about Vermont's colleges and universities?

UVM's 27th President, Suresh Garimella, photographed in front of a wall with ivy vines climbing behind it.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Suresh Garimella took over as the president of the University of Vermont in July. We're talking to him about what he sees as the biggest challenges facing Vermont's largest university, and for his perspective on the national trends in higher education — like shrinking enrollment, rising costs and struggles with affordability — that are plaguing schools of all sizes.

A sign that says Marlboro College Founded 1946
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

From the start, news of a possible merger between Marlboro College and the University of Bridgeport stirred mixed feelings on campus and in town. Some worried the tiny liberal arts college would lose its identity; others said it was a reasonable solution to a challenging financial situation.

But now that the merger is off everyone is wondering what's next.

The exterior of a building at Green Mountain College.
Nina Keck / VPR

No one has bought Green Mountain College yet — so to help pay for campus upkeep, some of the artwork, books and furniture the college collected over the years is being auctioned this week.

A sign that says University of Bridgeport with a house behind it.
DenisTangneyJr / iStock

A merger plan between Vermont's Marlboro College and University of Bridgeport, in Connecticut, was put on ice Friday. Marlboro College announced on its website that the institutions suspended those negotiations "due to concerns around the sustainability of a merged institution."

Dartmouth College has a new policy that allows students to change their names, pronouns or gender identity in campus directories.

That includes changes to first, middle or last names, says Meredith H Braz, Dartmouth's Registrar. 

Since 2007, trans and nonbinary students have been able to request IDs and directory listings that reflected their preferred name.

When Lesley Del Rio goes to the library to do her college math homework, she often has a study buddy: her precocious 8-year-old son, Leo.

Del Rio is working on her associate degree; Leo is working on third grade.

And Del Rio is not alone: More than 1 in 5 college students in the U.S. are raising kids. That's more than 4 million undergraduates, and they are disproportionately women and people of color. Of those students, more than half will leave school without getting a degree.

A new report from a government watchdog, first obtained by NPR, says an expanded effort by Congress to forgive the student loans of public servants is remarkably unforgiving.

Congress created the expansion program last year in response to a growing outcry. Thousands of borrowers — nurses, teachers and other public servants — complained that the requirements for the original program were so rigid and poorly communicated that lawmakers needed to step in. But, documents show, even this expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program isn't working.

A sign outside Harwood Union Middle and High School that says Welcome Back, Have a great Year.
Anna Van Dine / VPR

Last week, kids zipped up their backpacks, got on buses and headed back to school. For many school districts around the state, it's time to start thinking again about ongoing school district mergers under Act 46. For some districts, consolidation is underway and will likely result in a school closure in the coming years.

For many college students settling into their dorms this month, the path to campus — and paying for college — started long ago. And it likely involved their families.

The pressure to send kids to college, coupled with the realities of tuition, has fundamentally changed the experience of being middle class in America, says Caitlin Zaloom, an anthropologist and associate professor at New York University. It's changed the way that middle class parents raise their children, she adds, and shaped family dynamics along the way.

A woman stands in a reception window.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The Johnson campus of Northern Vermont University has partnered with the New York-based JED Foundation, which works with high schools and colleges to destigmatize mental health issues, address substance use and prevent suicide.

A year after Gov. Chris Sununu's unsuccessful push to prolong school summer vacation until Labor Day, the vast majority of New Hampshire communities are sticking with their earlier start dates.

Schools in 80 percent of districts will be starting before Labor Day this year, about the same percentage as last year. Four districts that started earlier last year will now start after Labor Day: Gilford, Gilmanton, Milton and Waterville Valley. But two other districts — Hinsdale and Pemi Baker Regional — went the other way, moving from post-Labor Day openings to earlier dates.

A silhouette of a boy reading a book outside in front of a sunset.
Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Summer vacation is winding down and students will soon head back to school, but does a long summer holiday still make sense for students today?

A water fountain mounted on a wall.
gerenme / iStock

The Scott administration has created a website to monitor the testing of lead levels in schools and child care centers. To date, five schools and 300 child care centers have been tested — and roughly 10% of the tested child care centers had at least one water source that exceeded legal limits, while every tested school had at least one water source above what's permitted.

A meal from Springfield High School features a chicken quesadilla on a whole-grain tortilla, salad, steamed carrots and daikon radishes, apples and carrot sticks.
Vermont Agency of Education

Fourteen Vermont schools will lose their free lunch and breakfast programs when students return for classes this fall. But while the programs' sunsetting are ostensibly due to fewer kids living in poverty, child nutrition experts say many of those students still face food insecurity and uncertainty about their next meal.

State Board of Education Chair Krista Huling looks over a school district map during a meeting to review Act 46 mergers. A judge has denied a request from more than 30 school districts to temporarily halt the Act 46 merger process.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR file

The chair of Vermont's State Board of Education resigned Thursday.

Krista Huling's resignation came after other board members expressed concern with her new role as treasurer for the campaign of Rebecca Holcombe, a former Vermont education secretary running for governor as a Democrat.

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