Vermont is the second least populated state, after Wyoming, in the country, and the second most rural, after Maine, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. In the last decade,Vermont’s public school enrollment has declined more than 10 percent. Over half of its 89,000 pre-K–12 public school students attend rural schools, many in isolated, economically challenged communities. One in three students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, up from one in four just 10 years ago. Vermont is one of the least racially diverse states, and 94 percent of students identify as white, non-Hispanic. The state has one of the highest per-pupil spending rates in the nation, and one of the highest high school graduation rates, close to 90 percent.
In 2010, Vermont’s Board of Education adopted the national Common Core State Standards, and educators and policymakers are working to align curriculum and teacher training to these standards, which go into effect in 2013. Other reform efforts are focused on teacher and leader effectiveness, expanding the number of high school graduates who attend college, and closing the achievement gap between students from low-income households and their peers from higher earning households. REL Northeast and Islands is supporting these initiatives through projects identified and conducted by several research alliances, including:
- Northeast Rural Districts Research Alliance
- Northeast College and Career Readiness Research Alliance
- Early Childhood Education Research Alliance
- Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance