Opinion: Vermont schools are high cost, average quality – Art Woolf on VT Digger

Vermont parents and taxpayers pay a lot for public education, and the return is just average, says economist and pundit Art Woolf.

"If I had to characterize how well Vermont students do in one word, it would be average. In two words, below average. That’s depressing, given that nationwide, states spend about $13,000 to educate each student. In Vermont, it’s closer to $20,000. The NAEP test is given to a representative sample of students in every state, with the 2019 tests given to 4th and 8th grade students in reading and math. On the aggregate level, Vermont’s students did about as well as the U.S. average. Thirty-seven percent of Vermont’s students scored proficient or better in the 4th grade reading test, slightly better than the 35% for all U.S. students. As the Department of Education puts it, proficiency means the student demonstrate[s] solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter. I interpret that as a grade of B or B-. In 4th grade math, 39% of Vermont students scored at that level, slightly less than the 41% of U.S. students scoring proficient or better."

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