93 Vermont Towns Have No Public Schools, But Great Education. How Do They Do It? – Foundation for Economic Education
- Ninety-three Vermont towns (36 percent of its 255 municipalities) have no government-run school at all. If there were enough kids, the pot of public money earmarked for education would be used to buy a building and hire teachers. In these towns, the funds local governments expect to spend per pupil are instead given directly to the parents of school-age children. This method gives lower- and middle-income parents the same superpower wealthy families have always had: school choice.
- In many other parts of the country, even the most “progressive” ones, government-run schools consume ever-more resources while doing little to address disparities of outcome.
- Eligibility for tuition vouchers actually increased home values in towns that closed their public schools.
- Because parents, not bureaucrats or federal formulas, determine how funds are allocated, schools are under high economic pressure to impress parents 60—that is, to serve students best in their parents’ eyes.
- Having watched these models develop nearby, two more Vermont towns voted in 2013 to close their government-run schools and become “tuition towns” instead. The local public elementary and high schools there closed and reopened as independent competitors in an increasingly rich marketplace of education options.
- Can Vermont’s quirky school program work elsewhere? Probably. An independent evaluation by the Ethan Allen Institute, a free-market think tank in Vermont, reported:
…an expansion of Vermont’s publicly funded tuition model can be an effective way to lower costs, improve student outcomes, achieve greater diversity in the classroom, and increase parental satisfaction with and participation in their children’s education.