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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White buildings on the Marlboro College campus near the road
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR File

Last month Marlboro College announced plans to close its Marlboro campus and merge with Emerson College, in Boston. Now a group led by former faculty members says it's working on a different plan.

Caroll Spinney, the actor and puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street over five decades, died Sunday at age 85.

The Sesame Workshop said Spinney had died at home in Connecticut, and that he had long lived with dystonia, a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.

An empty office illustration with a vacant sign hanging on a chair
Tetiana5 / iSotck

When Suresh Garimella took the helm at UVM earlier this year, he became the newest college president in Vermont. But the state’s flagship university is far from the only Vermont college undergoing a change of leadership.

When Matthew Braun gets out of medical school, he'll be able to prescribe opioids.

A decade ago, he was addicted to them.

"The first time I ever used an opioid, I felt the most confident and powerful I'd ever felt," Braun says. "So I said, 'This is it. I want to do this the rest of my life.' "

Opioids took away his anxiety, his inhibitions, his depression. And they were easy to get.

"I just started breaking into houses," Braun says. "I found it amazing how trusting people were in leaving windows open and doors unlocked, and I found a lot of prescriptions."

Presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want to tear up your student loans and set you financially free. That's popular among voters – especially those struggling to pay off this debt.

Other Democratic candidates have more modest plans. But economists say the dramatic proposals from Sanders and Warren to free millions of Americans from the burden of student debt could boost the economy in significant ways and help combat income inequality.

The front of a hospital.
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Courtesy

More than 100 rural hospitals have closed across the country in the past 10 years. In an effort to prevent that in Vermont, the state legislature has set up a task force, and its initial findings show hospitals here face a crushing shortage of doctors and nurses.

A sign post on the campus of UVM in Burlington.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

The University of Vermont plans to freeze tuition rates next year. The college says the last time it did this was more than 40 years ago.

Nicole Lesperance sits with her students at a table full of lego blocks.
Elodie Reed / VPR

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median hourly wage for child care workers in Vermont is just over $13 an hour. As heard in this month's Brave Little State, figuring out how to train, retain and pay child care workers is a complicated question in Vermont.

But for many parents, simply finding a spot for their child in a high-quality early education program can be a big challenge — let alone paying for it. New programs at two Vermont businesses seek to make child care more affordable and accessible to working Vermonters. 

A college student standing in front of a window.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Ever since Marlboro College announced last week that it would likely be closing its campus in Windham County, both the college community and people who live in the small town have been coming to grips with the news.

A man in a blue tie.
Elodie Reed / VPR file

There's a new scholarship fund at the University of Vermont honoring Sen. Patrick Leahy and his wife, Marcelle Leahy, but the corporations and foundations that have donated to the scholarship may have motives other than simply supporting higher education.

A woman stands in the center of children on a blue rug.
Elodie Reed / VPR

The smell of fish sticks, crayons, and the sweet-yet-slightly-grubby smell of small children. If you’re a parent, you know what we’re talking about. If you’re not? Welcome to child care.

A man stands in his apartment near books
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Putney School's library has a special collection of hundreds of books by black writers and about race, thanks to an endowment started by alumnus Claude Winfield. Now that the school has joined a network of Vermont libraries, that collection is available beyond the school community.

White buildings on the Marlboro College campus near the road
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR File

Marlboro College announced Wednesday it plans to close its southern Vermont campus this spring. The school says it is striking a deal with Emerson College, in Boston.

In exchange for Marlboro's $30 million endowment and $10 million in real estate holdings, Emerson plans to take on Marlboro's current students and its tenured and tenure-track faculty.

An Italian-inspired cascade on the campus of Southern Vermont College. Greenery in the background.
Ric Cengeri / VPR File

A New Hampshire boarding school has signed a $4.9 million deal to buy the former Southern Vermont College campus in Bennington. The Oliverian School describes itself as "a non-profit, alternative, college-prep boarding school for adolescents who have not thrived in traditional settings."

Old Chapel at Middlebury College
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Last week brought the first early decision deadlines for high school seniors applying to college — and also a lot of potential questions: Just what is early decision and how does it differ from early action? Have college admissions changed since the "Varsity Blues" scandal broke earlier this year? How do college admissions officers view Vermont's new proficiency-based grading systems? What are the admissions options at Vermont colleges and universities?

Pouring school water fountain water into a clear plastic bottle.
Vermont Department of Health, Courtesy

Dozens of schools and more than 80 child care centers in Vermont have tested positive for lead that exceeds the legal limits. Those are the results under new legislation requiring tests for lead at all schools and child care facilities in the state by December 2020. We're talking with state health and education officials about the testing and what happens when dangerous lead levels are detected.

Donut graph showing how optimistic Vermonters are about future of their community. 19% said very optimistic, 47% somewhat optimistic, 6% neither optimistic or pessimistic, 18% somewhat pessimistic, 7% very pessimistic, 2% don't know/refused.
Kyle Blair / Vermont PBS

Data released this week from the Vermont Rural Life Survey, a part of VPR and Vermont PBS's This Land project, reveal 66% of respondents are optimistic about the future of their communities. On the next Vermont Edition, we'll explore the reasons behind this positive outlook and take a look at what makes Vermont communities strong.

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.