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Old 06-14-2010, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,068,946 times
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America's Best High Schools 2010 - Newsweek Only three schools in the top 2010 schools in the country and the first does not show up until 1210. I hope the state government sees that the current situation is not working. Sad when city schools in FL. and CA get better rankings than here in VT.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI
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Most of those schools are charter schools, requiring entrance exams and applications to get into those schools, even though they are publicly funded. They tend to only exist in cities and tend to be hated by the NEA.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,068,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RunawayJim View Post
Most of those schools are charter schools, requiring entrance exams and applications to get into those schools, even though they are publicly funded. They tend to only exist in cities and tend to be hated by the NEA.
True, many of the schools are magnet schools, but look at the public schools in Tampa or Gainsville as an example and the test scores/advanced placement-college level is far ahead of even Vermonts best school (Montpelier High). Since 1997, school staffing levels have increased by 23 percent, while our student population has decreased by 11.5 percent. The number of teacher’s aides has gone up 43 percent. The number of support staff has gone up 48 percent. For every four fewer students a new teacher, teacher’s aide or staff person was hired. There are 11 students for every teacher – the lowest ratio in the country – and a staggering five students for every adult in our schools. With personnel costs accounting for 80 percent of total school spending, it’s no wonder that our K-12 system is among the most expensive in the nation (all info from the state government). Our school governance structures are a vestige of the 19th century and, like our unsustainable personnel costs, must be reformed. We have 290 separate school districts –- one for every 312 students –- 63 different supervisory bodies and a State Board of Education. That’s a total of 354 different education governing bodies for a state with only 251 towns.The sad part is looking at how these schools are ranked, test scores and college prep being just two of the criteria, indicates that money and student teacher ratios are not the key to a great education. Vermont has charter schools as well, but not one is even in the rankings. The only schools in the state to make the rankings were Montpelier, Colchester, and Danville. The big suprise was the absence of South Burlington or Rice which most consider the best in the state.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,034,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68vette View Post
True, many of the schools are magnet schools, but look at the public schools in Tampa or Gainsville as an example and the test scores/advanced placement-college level is far ahead of even Vermonts best school (Montpelier High). Since 1997, school staffing levels have increased by 23 percent, while our student population has decreased by 11.5 percent. The number of teacher’s aides has gone up 43 percent. The number of support staff has gone up 48 percent. For every four fewer students a new teacher, teacher’s aide or staff person was hired. There are 11 students for every teacher – the lowest ratio in the country – and a staggering five students for every adult in our schools. With personnel costs accounting for 80 percent of total school spending, it’s no wonder that our K-12 system is among the most expensive in the nation (all info from the state government). Our school governance structures are a vestige of the 19th century and, like our unsustainable personnel costs, must be reformed. We have 290 separate school districts –- one for every 312 students –- 63 different supervisory bodies and a State Board of Education. That’s a total of 354 different education governing bodies for a state with only 251 towns.The sad part is looking at how these schools are ranked, test scores and college prep being just two of the criteria, indicates that money and student teacher ratios are not the key to a great education. Vermont has charter schools as well, but not one is even in the rankings. The only schools in the state to make the rankings were Montpelier, Colchester, and Danville. The big suprise was the absence of South Burlington or Rice which most consider the best in the state.
Yikes! And I thought RI was bad with something like 36 individual school districts (there are only like 1 or 2 areas that have regional districts) for our 39 municipalities.

I'm a big fan of merging districts (though the employees of those districts aren't usually fans of that) to reduce costs. I'm also a fan of doing away with the unions, but not necessarily reducing teacher salary.
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:46 PM
 
274 posts, read 595,668 times
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Well, we got two more entries than NH (NH only got Hollis-Brookline, at 1210). So I guess I improved my lot by moving here from NH. LOL. Sad but funny to me. People seem to love NH because it is a tax-free state, but it does come at a cost in some areas. (and yes, I do get the point that I am paying an income tax in a state that only has 2 more schools on the list than one that has no income tax at all...but let me tell you about Hollis-Brookline taxes. My best friend lives there and pays $13k on her house that she purchased for $315k)

I didn't go too deep into the list. Does it favor urban schools?
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,068,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momnh View Post
Well, we got two more entries than NH (NH only got Hollis-Brookline, at 1210). So I guess I improved my lot by moving here from NH. LOL. Sad but funny to me. People seem to love NH because it is a tax-free state, but it does come at a cost in some areas. (and yes, I do get the point that I am paying an income tax in a state that only has 2 more schools on the list than one that has no income tax at all...but let me tell you about Hollis-Brookline taxes. My best friend lives there and pays $13k on her house that she purchased for $315k)

I didn't go too deep into the list. Does it favor urban schools?
I understand what you are saying, but for the education system continuing to hire and expand when enrollment is on the decline is insane. If anyone working in the private sector did this, their boss would hang them first and then fire them if they weren't dead already. The stat that is most troublesome is 354 different education governing bodies for a state with only 251 towns. Talk about more chiefs than indians. I couldn't care if teachers were paid high salaries, but the sheer number of teachers is unsastainable in a state this size. We the citizens of this state are footing 80% of this bill. Anyone who doesn't mind spending thier hard earned money on this type of government waste, PM me your address and I'll gladly pass on my portion of the bill.
We are one of the three schools to hold a ranking here in Colchester. Our school budget is out of control. I'm not paying 13,000, but we are very close. On average we were getting hit $300-400/yr in new school taxes. We did not approve the school budget this year and some teachers lost thier jobs because of it. I'm not happy about this, but they should have not been hired in the first place.
Not all of the schools are urban schools, but the urban schools are doing a better job with higher student to teacher ratios and for less taxpayer dollars.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,313 posts, read 11,242,286 times
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Don't get too excited about this. Here's what they say their criterion is:

Quote:
based on how hard school staffs work to challenge students with advanced-placement college-level courses and tests.
At the high school I'm most familiar with, Montpelier High School, I know that I always wished they had more AP offerings. For instance, they don't offer Calculus BC; they don't offer AP French because the teacher who would have taught it doesn't like French literature; it's also just a very small school, which makes it less likely that they will have the capacity to offer AP classes. I think that it is, in general, not an accurate measure of educational quality.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,034,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
Don't get too excited about this. Here's what they say their criterion is:



At the high school I'm most familiar with, Montpelier High School, I know that I always wished they had more AP offerings. For instance, they don't offer Calculus BC; they don't offer AP French because the teacher who would have taught it doesn't like French literature; it's also just a very small school, which makes it less likely that they will have the capacity to offer AP classes. I think that it is, in general, not an accurate measure of educational quality.
If I were the principal, I would make the teacher teach AP French. It's stupid not to, but the union let's the teacher say no.

But I agree with you in general. While AP classes are good to offer, they aren't necessary to get a high quality education. They don't even necessarily make a school "better performing".
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:23 AM
 
400 posts, read 727,397 times
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Lets not forgot that the state government also short changes the higher education funding in the state in their effort to clog the K-12 black hole with piles of taxpayer's funds. The system in place isn't just a poor return on investment for education, its actively damaging education.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,068,946 times
Reputation: 925
Vermont schools are prohibited by law from accessing out-of-state distance learning programs … If a school sought to provide a new Chinese program for a student, or even a group of students, they would have to hire a new teacher with the expertise – a costly step. Allowing students to access approved distance learning programs from around the country is a simple, affordable change we can make to improve quality. This could be the problem not only in Montpelier, but the whole state. Colchester High is pushing the evelope this coming year. Several teachers had to be eliminated and a cost effective move was to start a virtual learning program. That way if a program was not offered at a school, it could be accessed from a competent instructor. In this day and age if a teacher refused to teach a program due to personal choice. Out the door they should go and bring in the right person for the job. On the other hand they probobly have tenure and can do whatever they wish without the risk of lossing their job.
Fom Gov. Douglas on education financing:

"At the root of our education funding challenge is a system that’s substantially eroding local control. Each year the connection between your school budget vote and your property tax bill becomes more and more distant. . . our education funding regime has grown into an unmanageable maze of exemptions, deductions, prebates, rebates, cost-shifts and hidden funding sources. Overlapping rings of complexity keep all but a few experts from understanding the many moving pieces. This is not good tax policy, not good government, and, if you ask most Vermonters, not good for much of anything. It’s time to pull back the curtains and let the sun shine in on how education is funded. Transparency – Who is paying? What are we paying for? What are the results?"
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