House Considers Bill To Change Education Department

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(Host) The Vermont House is considering legislation that would change the way the Department of Education is structured.

Currently, it is an autonomous entity not attached to a state agency. That means the Governor does not have the ability to name its Commissioner. 

House Bill 440 would change that, and it would change the way the State Board of Education is constituted, allowing education stakeholders to submit a slate of nominees to the governor.

Burlington Representative Joey Donovan is one of the bill’s sponsors.

(Donovan) "I think any person who’s elected by the state of Vermont, if they had this appointment power, then they would take it very seriously and they would do the right investment for Vermont‘s children."

(Host) But opponents fear the bill would politicize the head of the education department.

Steve Dale is the Executive Director of the Vermont School Boards Association.

(Dale) "The education governance system was designed to prevent the short-term political considerations of a governor from unduly influencing what is best for children."

(Host) The bill passed through the education committee and has been taken up by the Government Operations committee.

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