YCQM: January 13, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: January 13, 2013

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>>> GOOD MORNING, OUR NEWS MAKER THIS SUNDAY, VERMONT'S NEW EDUCATION SECRETARY, AR MABD OWE -- ARMANDO VILLE SAKE -- VILASECA.

>> MR. SECRETARY, THANKS FOR JOINING US.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> BEFORE WE BEGIN WITH ANY OF THE QUESTIONING, LET'S HEAR WHAT THE GOVERNOR HAD TO SAY ABOUT EDUCATION IN HIS STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS.

>> THE STATE OF VERMONT AND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, SO HELP ME GOD.

>> SO HELP ME GOD.

>> CONGRATULATIONS. [ APPLAUSE ]

>> AFTER RENEWING THE OATH OF OFFICE THURSDAY, GOVERNOR PETER SHUMLIN ADDRESSED STATE AND FEDERAL LAWMAKERS A SEMD BEFORE HIM.

>> THE STATE OF OUR STATE IS HEALTHY. IT'S RYE -- RESILIENT AND STRONG.

>> SHUMLIN USED HIS ANNUAL ADDRESS TO FOCUS ON A SINGULAR ISSUE, TURNING EDUCATION INTO A SKILLED LABOR PRODUCING MACHINE.

>> OUR EMPLOYERS FROM BORDER TO BORDER ARE EAGER TO FIND LEADERS WITH THE RIGHT EDUCATIONAL SKILLS AND THEY HAVE GOOD MONEY TO PAY.

>> SHUMLIN SAID BUSINESSES THROUGHOUT THE STATE WOULD BE EXPANDING, AND OFFERING GOOD WAGES, IF THEY COULD FIND MANPOWER. HE SAID THE STATE MUST BE PREPARED TO HARNESS GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES PRESENTED BY TECHNOLOGY.

>> THE PLAIN TRUTH IS, WE ARE NOT.

>> TO THAT THE GOVERNOR PROPOSES TURNING A GOOD BUT EXPENSIVE EDUCATION SYSTEM INTO A GREAT ONE. HE SAID THAT MEANS CHANGE FROM PRE-K THROUGH COLLEGE.

>> WORDS ARE NICE, ACTION IS BETTER. LET'S TAKE IT TOGETHER. [ APPLAUSE ] THE EARLIER THE INVESTMENT, THE BIGGER THE RETURN ARGUES SHUMLIN. HE WANTS TO PUT 17 MILLION INTO LOW INCOME EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND PLEDGED ASSISTANCE TO COMMUNITIES WILLING TO START PUBLIC PROGRAMS. FINANCING FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO TAKE HIGH SCHOOL COURSES -- COLLEGE COURSE

>> WE WANT YOU IN VERMONT. WE NEED YOU IN VERMONT, AND WE'RE READY TO BE BOLD IN KEEPING YOU IN VERMONT.

>> THE GOVERNOR SUGGESTS PERSONAL LEARNING PLANS FOR EVERY STUDENT FROM THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN AND ADVANCING GRADE LEVELS WITH THEM. HE ALSO PROPOSES SHIFTING TECH SCHOOL FOCUSES TO SKILLS NEEDED WITHIN THE IMMEDIATE AREAS.

>> THE KINDLE MAY CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON ENGINEERING, HOSPITALITY, HEALTHCARE, COURSES THAT WILL RESULT IN KINGDOM JOBS FOR KINGDOM KIDS. [ APPLAUSE ]

>> HOW VERMONT CAN AFFORD THE NEW EFFORTS? THE GOVERNOR PRODUCES HIS BUDGET ADDRESS JANUARY 24TH.

>> SO WE WILL NOW GET TO SOME OF THOSE ISSUES THAT THE GOVERNOR HAD ADDRESSED, AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING. THE GOVERNOR LAID OUT AN AMBITIOUS PLAN FOR EDUCATION IN THE STATE. YOU ARE NOW A SECRETARY, WHICH MEANS YOU ARE PART OF THE CABINET, PART OF THE DISCUSSIONS WHEN YOU SIT DOWN WITH THE GOVERNOR. HOW MUCH OF A ROLE SD YOU PLAY -- DID YOU PLAY IN THESE PRIORITIES ANNOUNCED DURING THE STATE OF THE STATE?

>> ONE OF THE WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT THE GOVERNOR AND MYSELF IS THAT WE HAVE A VERY CONSISTENT VIEWS ON EDUCATION. WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A WONDERFUL EDUCATION SYSTEM, A VERY STRONG EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. AT THE SAME TIME, ARE WE PREPARING OUR STUDENTS TO GRADUATE INTO JOBS AND CAREERS THAT ARE NEEDED IN VERMONT. AND AS YOU HEARD HIM TALK ABOUT CAREER TRAINING IN SCHOOLS, STUDENTS HAVING OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPERIENCE REAL-LOYAL EXPERIENCE -- REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES WHILE THEY ARE IN HIGH SCHOOL. THESE ARE THE TYPE OF THINGS WE ARE ON THE SAME PAGE ON. I WORKED WITH THE GOVERNOR ON THIS. THESE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT ARE ENABLED THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT, PRIOR TO THAT THE DEPARTMENT WAS WORKING ON, MAKING HIGH SCHOOL MORE RELEVANT TO STUDENTS, ISSUES AROUND PRESCHOOL EDUCATION, PERSONAL LEARNING PLANS WHERE EVERY STUDENT, BY THE TIME THEY GRADUATE FROM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND REACH MIDDLE SCHOOL HAS A PLAN THAT SORT OF HELPS GUIDE THEIR EDUCATION OVER THE NEXT SIX YEARS. BETTER PREPARES THEM FOR THEIR LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL. SO WE'RE VERY MUCH IN SYNC WITH THESE VIEWS, AND IT'S WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL TO HAVE A GOVERNOR WHO IS WILLING TO TALK ABOUT THESE AND PUT HIS WEIGHT OF HIS OFFICE BEHIND IT.

>> VERMONTERS HAVE TO LOOK BACK QUITE A WAYS TO FIND A STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS THAT SO SINGULARLY FOCUSES ON ONE TOPIC. HERE IT'S EDUCATION. THERE'S A LOT OF NEW AGENDA HERE. WHERE DO YOU GET STARTED?

>> WELL, I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT. IT IS NICE TO HEAR A GOVERNOR TALK ABOUT EDUCATION IN A WAY THAT IS POSITIVE AND LOOKING AT GROWING EDUCATION. IN YOUR PREVIOUS REPORT YOU MENTIONED SDWAS AN EXPENSIVE SYSTEM. VERMONT DOES HAVE AN EXPENSIVE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. ONE OF THE CHALLENGES OF SMALL RURAL STATES IS THE GEOGRAPHIC DISTANCE BETWEEN SCHOOLS THAT SOMETIMES MAKES SOME OF THE MORE EFFICIENCIES THAT OCCUR IN OTHER AREAS HARDER. YOU ARE RIGHT, IT IS A BIG AGENDA. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON MANY OF THESE, FOR EXAMPLE, EARLY EDUCATION. I WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ON PRESCHOOL EDUCATION, SO WE HAVE BEEN WORKING VERY CLOSELY WITH THE ADMINISTRATION ON THAT, AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT, BECAUSE THE GOAL THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS, AND WE HAVE, IS MORE AND MORE KIDS PARTICIPATING IN PUBLICLY FUND BD HIGH -- FUNDED HIGH QUALITY PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS. YOU TALK ABOUT A PLACE TO START, WE START WITH PRESCHOOL KIDS, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT CHILDREN COMING TO SCHOOL WHO ARE NOW READY TO LEARN ARE GOING TO HAVE A STRUGGLE THROUGHOUT THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE, AND PARTICULARLY, YOU HEARD THE GOVERNOR ADDRESS THE ISSUE ABOUT POVERTY. CHILDREN WHO LIVE IN POVERTY ARE STARTING SCHOOL WITH TWO TO THREE THOUSAND VOCABULARY WORD DIFFERENCE THAN THOSE WHO DO NOT. ONE OF THE GOALS IS THAT THOSE KIDS COMING INTO KINDERGARTEN ARE READY TO LEARN. AND THE OTHER ONE THAT I THINK SIMULTANEOUSLY WE'RE WORKING ON, HOW DO WE MAKE HIGH SCHOOLS MORE RELEVANT AND APPLICABLE TO THE FUTURE.

>> WE WILL GET TO THAT I THINK IN A LITTLE BIT. IT IS AN AMBITIOUS AGENDA. YOU AGREED TO SIGN ON FOR A YEAR. HOW DOES THAT MESH?

>> WELL, WHEN I -- I THINK THAT REGARDLESS OF WHO IS SITTING IN THIS SEAT, IT'S THE GOVERNOR'S VOICE NOW, IT'S THE GOVERNOR'S VISION FOR EDUCATION. AS I'M HERE, I'VE BEEN HERE FOUR YEARS, I WILL BE HERE AT LEAST FOR ANOTHER YEAR AND WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT.

>> YOU ARE NOT RULING OUT, THEN, BECOMING SECRETARY AGAIN.

>> UH, WHEN I TOOK THIS JOB FOUR YEARS AGO, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I HAD COMMITTED TO WAS TO WORK AT LEAST FIVE YEARS IN THIS POSITION. BECAUSE PRIOR TO MYSELF, RICHARD KATE HAD BEEN THE COMMISSIONER FOR FOUR YEARS. PRIOR TO RICHARD, THERE HAVE BEEN A REVOLVING DOOR IN THIS POSITION, WHICH CAUSED, I THINK, LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN THE FIELD, NO ONE WAS SURE WHO WAS LEADING. IF THEY HAVE AN ISSUE TODAY, THEY MIGHT CHANGE TO A NEW PERSON. I COMMITTED TO AT LEAST FIVE YEARS, AND THAT'S WHAT THE GOVERNOR AND I ARE TALKING ABOUT. WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT.

>> BECAUSE THE GOVERNOR WAS PRETTY CLEAR WHEN I SPOKE WITH HIM, HE SAID A NEW SEARCH WILL BEGIN IN THE SUMMER.

>> A NEW SEARCH, YES, A NEW SEARCH WILL BEGIN. WE HAD TALKED BETWEEN THE SUMMER AND FALL AT SOME POINT ABOUT FIND BEING SOMEBODY ELSE, BECAUSE, AGAIN, THAT MEETS MY FIVE-YEAR COMMITMENT THAT I HAD MADE. AT THE SAME TIME, IF THE GOVERNOR SEES A NEED TO EXTEND THAT A LITTLE BIT, I AM MORE THAN HAPPY TO DO WHATEVER I CAN. I HAVE BEEN IN VERMONT EDUCATION FOR 34 YEARS, AND DON'T WANT TO LEAVE WHEN THINGS AREN'T DONE. SO I AM REALLY SERVE AT THE WILL OF THE GOVERNOR AND HOPE THAT WHATEVER I DO, WHETHER I STAY OR SOMEBODY ELSE COMES IN, THAT THE MOMENTUM IS MOVING, BECAUSE, AGAIN, NOW WE HAVE THE GOVERNOR WHO IS REALLY BEHIND EDUCATION.

>> YOU HAD MENTIONED THE COST OF EDUCATION HERE IN THE STATE, AND IT IS EXPENSIVE. MAYBE YOU CAN ELABORATE A LITTLE MORE. WHAT MAKES EDUCATION SO EXPENSIVE IN VERMONT?

>> WELL, I THINK VERMONT RIGHT NOW IS THE THIRD OR FOURTH HIGHEST PER PUPIL SPENDING IN THE COUNTRY, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES VERMONT EDUCATION EXPENSIVE IS THE GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS. WE'RE NOT AN URBAN AREA WHERE YOU CAN HAVE, YOU KNOW, IN A GEOGRAPHIC AREA YOU MAY HAVE A LOT OF KIDS, AND YOU CAN MAYBE PUT THEM IN SCHOOLS THAT MAY BE CLOSE TO EACH OTHER. HERE WE HAVE A SCHOOL HERE, AND THE NEXT ONE MAY BE 50 MILES AWAY. THAT'S ONE OF THEM. ONE OF THE OTHER REASONS, AND THIS IS NOT A SURPRISE TO ANYBODY, BUT MY POSITION IS THAT WE REALLY NEED TO LOOK AT THE ENTIRE GROFRPG SYSTEM -- GOVERNING SYSTEM AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN VER MONTH. LEGISLATURES PASSED TWO BILLS, OOKT 1 53, INCENTIVES FOR TWO DISTRICTS TO JOIN TOGETHER, AND IN THE PAST, 156, WHICH WAS A SUPERVISORY UNION, TRYING TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF SUPERVISORY UNIONS IN THE STATE TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF CENTRAL OFFICES. NOT THE NUMBER OF SCHOOLS OR SCHOOL DISTRICTS, BUT THE NUMBER OF THE MANAGEMENT DUTIES. AND THERE ARE INCENTIVES RIGHT NOW, SO I THINK THAT AS WE LOOK AT THE FUTURE OF VERMONT, THE CLIMBING ENROLLMENT, MORE AND MORE DEMANDS ON SCHOOLS, YOU SAW THAT THE GOVERNOR SENT OUT A MEMO TO SCHOOLS ASKING THEM TO BE CAREFUL WITH BUDGETS AND TO REALLY TRY TO STAY WITHIN A SERB -- A CERTAIN NUMBER. THE NUMBER COMING FROM SCHOOLS RIGHT NOW IS CLOSER TO 5%, AND IF WE CONTINUE TO OPERATE THE WAY WE'RE OPERATING, WE'LL ALWAYS CONTINUE TO BE CHALLENGED BY THAT. AND THEN WHAT HURTS ME AS SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN A PRINCIPAL AND SUPERINTENDENT, I DON'T SEE A LOT OF CUTS COMING AT THE CENTRAL OFFICE LEVEL. THEY ARE COMING AT THE BUILDING LEVEL. SO WE NEED TO LOOK AT A SYSTEM THAT CANNOT ONLY PROVIDE MORE OPPORTUNITIES, AND IT IS TRULY ABOUT STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES, AS WELL AS THE FINANCIAL INVESTMENT. CAN WE TAKE THE 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS THAT WE SPEND IN REVENUES, AND MAYBE APPLY THEM IN A DIFFERENT WAY, NOT TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF DISTRICTS UNDER LOCAL CONTROL, BUT HOW TO PROVIDE MORE AND MORE OPPORTUNITIES, PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU HEAR THE GOVERNOR'S INITIATIVES ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT ALL STUDENTS ARE GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL WITH AT LEAST AN IDEA AND A BETTER PREPARATION TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE FUTURE VERMONT WORK FORCE.

>> PART OF THAT IS THE IDEA OF THIS DUAL ENROLLMENT, WHERE CREDITS WOULD COUNT IN HIGH SCHOOL TOWARDS COLLEGE. EXPLAIN HOW THAT WOULD WORK.

>> YES. WE'VE BEEN FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, AND WE WORK CLOSELY WITH THE VERMONT STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM AND OTHERS, ON A MATTER THAT HAS STUDENTS TAKING A COLLEGE CLASS WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL THAT COUNTS BOTH FOR THEIR HIGH SCHOOL REQUIREMENT, AS WELL AS A REAL COLLEGE CREDIT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO IS INCREASE THAT, THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO ARE TAKING DUAL ENROLLMENT CLASSES. SOME OF THOSE COURSES, OR MANY OF THOSE COURSES WILL OCCUR AT THE COLLEGE SITE, BUT SOME OF THOSE MAY ALSO OCCUR AT THE SCHOOL SITE. SO THAT STUDENTS ARE LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL WITH NOT ONLY THE HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, BUT POSSIBLY THREE, SIX, NINE COLLEGE CREDITS THEY CAN APPLY ANYWHERE THEY GO. THE CAREER AND TECHNICAL CENTERS ARE LEADING THE WAY IN THIS. WE HAVE MANY, AND I'M USING THE ACRONYM CTV STUDENTS, WHO ARE GRADUATING FROM CURRENT TECHNICAL CENTERS WITH NINE, TWELVE COLLEGE CREDITS IN THE AREA OF INTEREST THEY ARE GOING TO PURSUE IN THE FUTURE.

>> YOU TALK ABOUT THE VERMONT STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM, CHANNEL 3 HAS BEEN TOURING A LOT OF SCHOOLS OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS, MEETING WITH COLLEGE PRESIDENTS, TALKING ABOUT THEIR ISSUES, AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT FUNDING. AND INADEQUATE FUNDING FROM THE STATE TO ACCOMPLISH SOME OF THESE GOALS THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO PURSUE. HOW DO YOU ALLEVIATE SOME OF THOSE CONCERNS?

>> WELL, KEITH, I DON'T HAVE ANY AUTHORITY OR REALLY A WHOLE LOT OF INFLUENCE OR IMPACT ON THE HIGHER ED. I THINK WHAT WE NEED TO DO IN VERMONT IS THE MORE RELATION SHIPS WE HAVE WITH VERMONT HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WITH OUR STATE COLLEGES, OR UNIVERSITIES THAT ARE IN THE STATE OF VERMONT, HOPEFULLY THAT WILL ALSO MEET FOR STUDENTS TO STAY IN VERMONT TO STUDY INSTEAD OF LEAVING THE STATE. AND IF I HAVE, FOR EXAMPLE, IF I'M TAKING COURSES THROUGH LYNDON OR JOHNSON STATE COLLEGE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PICK UP THREE, SIX CREDITS, I MAY DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SCHOOL W A PROFESSOR THAT MAY CAUSE ME TO THINK ABOUT STAYING IN VERMONT RATHER THAN GOING OUT OF STATE. AND THEN THE STUDENT WILL PROBABLY THEN STAY IN VERMONT AFTER THEY GRADUATE, BECAUSE MOST KIDS, WHERE THEY GO TO SCHOOL IS PREDOMINANTLY WHERE THEY STAY AFTER THEY GRADUATE.

>> YOU ARE REFERRING TO THE IDEA OF THE SO-CALLED BRAIN DRAIN, WHERE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REALLY LEAVING THE STATE AS SOON AS THEY GRADUATE. WHAT OTHER INITIATIVES IN THESE PROPOSALS WOULD KEEP YOUNG PEOPLE HERE IN THE STATE SO THAT WE DON'T DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM?

>> RIGHT. WELL, YOU HEARD THE GOVERNOR TALK ABOUT THE INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS WHO GRADUATE IN THE AREAS OF S.T.E.M., SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH, WHO GRADUATE FROM A VERMONT INSTITUTION AND STAY IN VERMONT, THAT THE STATE WILL THEN REIMBURSE THEM FOR THEIR FINAL YEAR AT THE STATE COLLEGE TUITION RATE ANNUALLY OVER FIVE YEARS. SO THAT'S AN INCENTIVE TO HAVE STUDENTS STAY HERE. ALSO, WE HAVE MANY, MANY JOBS AS THE GOVERNOR OUTLINES IN HIS SPEECH THAT ARE GOING UNFILLED. WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH STUDENTS NOW WHO ARE GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL WITH SCIENCE AND MATH SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE TO BE ABLE TO MOVE INTO THOSE TECHNICAL POSITIONS THAT DON'T REQUIRE FOUR-YEAR DEGREE, FOR EXAMPLE. NOT TALKING ABOUT ENGINEERS, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT STUDENTS WHO, MAYBE A TWO-YEAR DEGREE WHERE THEY ARE TECHNICIANS, WORKING WITH COMPANIES TO, AROUND MANUFACTURING, HIGH TECH MANUFACTURING, OF BEING THE BACKBONE OF KEEPING THE MACHINERY GOING. AND IT IS THOSE TECHNICAL YOBS JOBS THAT IBM IS STRUGGLING TO FIND, AS WELL AS ALL THE OTHER COMPANIES AROUND THE STATE THAT THE GOVERNOR OUTLINED IN HIS SPEECH.

>> THE GOVERNOR WAS TALKING ABOUT INNOVATION CENTERS AT OUR 17 TECHNICAL SCHOOLS ACROSS THE STATE AND MAKING IMPROVEMENTS THERE. I'VE BEEN IN A NUMBER OF THEM. CERTAIN THINGS SEEM TO BE WORKING, AND OTHER THINGS AREN'T. WHAT CAN YOU POINT TO THAT MAY BE IRRELEVANT OR KIND OF DYING OUT AT THIS POINT, WHAT DO WE NEED TO MAKE CHANGES IN YOUR EYES?

>> ONE OF THE -- HAVING BEEN A HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL THAT WAS ALIGNED WITH CAREER AND TECH CENTER, ONE OF THE CHALLENGES OF OUR ADMINISTRATORS AND OUR CAREER TECH CENTERS, THEY BASICALLY FUND THEMSELVES BASED ON TUITION. THEY OBVIOUSLY WANT TO HAVE CAREER EXPLORATION OPTIONS FOR STUDENTS, CAREERS IN VERMONT, BUT AT THE SAME TIME THEY NEED TO BRING IN REVENUE TO KEEP THE SCHOOL GOING. SO QUITE OFTEN POPULAR PROGRAMS, AND I DON'T WANT TO USE COSMETOLOGY AS AN EXAMPLE, BUT I WILL, OR CHILD CARE, AT THE TECH CENTERS. THOSE ARE IMPORTANT CAREERS, AND WE ALL, OBVIOUSLY, NEED FOLKS WHO ARE COSMETOLOGISTS AND CHILD CARE PROVIDERS, BUT THOSE JOBS MAY NOT NECESSARILY BE THE ONES THAT VERMONT NEEDS RIGHT NOW, AS WE LOOK AT THE NEEDS IN THE NORTHEAST KINGDOM, AS WE LOOK AT THE NEEDS OF HIGH-TECH BUSINESSES, WE NEED TO GRADUATE STUDENTS WHO HAVE -- ARE PREPARED FOR THAT. THAT MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THE MOST POPULAR COURSES INITIALLY. SO WHAT HAPPENS IS THE CAREER TECH CENTERS MAY NOT OFFER AN APPLIED MANUFACTURING PROGRAM, BUT MAY HAVE A COSMETOLOGY PROGRAM, BECAUSE COSMETOLOGY BRINGS IN SOME REVENUES. WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DESIGN IS A MILE THAT WOULD PROTECT SCHOOLS -- A MODEL TO PROTECT SCHOOLS FOR FIVE YEARS TO START NEW PROGRAMS, EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY NOT HAVE THE ENROLLMENT INITIALLY THAT IT NEEDS, BUT AFTER A FEW YEARS, YOU WOULD SAY AFTER FIVE YEARS, THEY NEED TO BE SELF SUPPORTING. BUT WE NEED TO PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR THOSE NEEDS THAT VERMONT HAS WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THE TUITION DOLLARS AT THE LOCAL CAREER TECH CENTER.

>> THIS MAY GET SOME PUSHBACK, THERE'S SOME TALK ALREADY, SOME SCUTTLEBUTT AROUND THE STATEHOUSE ABOUT THE MANDATE FOR GEOMETRY AND ALGEBRA IN HIGH SCHOOLS. WHY IMPORTANT, AND WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT PROPOSAL?

>> WELL, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT THE GOVERNOR AND I ACTUALLY WENT TO THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TWO YEARS AGO, AND SAID, KNOWING WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE NEEDS OF VERMONT, KNOWING WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE CAREERS IN THE FUTURE, NOT JUST IN VERMONT, BUT IN OUR COUNTRY, TO HAVE A STUDENT GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL WITHOUT, AT THE MINIMUM, ALGEBRA 2 LEVEL, IT MAY NOT BE CALLED ALGEBRA 2, BECAUSE SCHOOLS CALL THINGS DIFFERENT NAMES, BUT THOSE ARE -- IF YOU WANT TO GO TO VTC, FOR EXAMPLE, VERMONT STATE COLLEGES AND MAJOR IN SOME SORT OF A TECHNICAL CAREER, AT THE MINIMUM YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO GO THROUGH ALGEBRA 2, AND PROBABLY CALCULUS. SO THERE MAY BE FOLKS WHO THINK THAT MAY NOT BE REALISTIC. BUT IT WOULD BE, FROM A DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVE, FROM PREPARING HIGH SCHOOLS FOR THE CAREERS OF THE FUTURE, NOT TO EXPECT ALL OF OUR STUDENTS TO HAVE A HIGHER LEVEL OF MATH AND SCIENCE BY THE TIME THEY REACH THE 11TH GRADE OF ALGEBRA 2, AND I WOULD ALSO GO ON TO SAY PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY, ARE THINGS THAT WOULD PUT OUR STUDENTS, VERMONT STUDENTS, THE AVERAGE STUDENT, BEHIND THE EIGHT-BALL.

>> WHAT ABOUT SOME FOLKS WHO ARGUE THAT, YOU KNOW, NOT EVERYONE EXCELS IN MATH, PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT SKILL SETS THAT THEY ARE BETTER AT. WHAT ABOUT THOSE KIDS WHO FEAR THAT THESE MANDATES ARE COMING?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, THE FEAR BECOMES THAT WE NEED TO LOOK ALT THIS WHEN THE GOVERNOR TALKS ABOUT ALL STUDENTS BY THE TIME THEY REACH 11TH GRADE HAVING ALGEBRA 2, THAT STARTS IN KINDERGARTEN. WE DON'T CHANGE THE STUDENT OUTCOMES IN NINTH GRADE. WE HAVE TO LOOK AT ALL WE REALLY -- DO WE REALLY HAVE THE BEST TEACHERS PREPARING OUR STUDENTS IN GRADE 3, 4, 5 IN MATH, RIGHT NOW, VERMONT'S ELEMENTARY LICENSE REQUIREMENTS ARE LITERACY BASED. SO WE HAVE PEOPLE, AND I WILL USE MYSELF AS AN EXAMPLE. I TAUGHT THIRD AND FOURTH GRADE MATH. OF COURSE I COULD TEACH MATH IN THE THIRD AND FOURTH GRADE LEVEL. DO I HAVE THE INTEREST, THE DIFFERENT WAYS OF TEACHING IT, AND THE LOVE FOR MATH THAT SOMEBODY ELSE WHO MAYBE STUDIED MATH IN COLLEGE WOULD HAVE. SO WE'RE LOOKING AT INCREASING THE TEACHERS AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, WHO HAVE STRONG MATH BACKGROUNDS, SO THAT BY THE TIME A STUDENT GETS TO THE NINTH GRADE, THEY MAY HAVE ALREADY TAKEN ALGEBRA 1, OR GEOMETRY, AND WILL ALLOW THEM TO GO EVEN FURTHER, WHETHER IT'S IN MATH OR OTHER AREAS, BECAUSE WE'RE NOT SAYING, YOU KNOW, AND I DON'T THINK WHAT THE GOVERNOR IS SAYING AT ALL IS THAT WE ARE LOOKING TO ELIMINATE ANYTHING ELSE. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE OUR STUDENTS GRADUATE RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE THREE YEARS OF MATH REQUIREMENTS IN HIGH SCHOOL, BUT THEY ARE ANY MATH. WE HAVE STUDENTS GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL WHO MAY NOT HAVE GOTTEN ANYTHING ABOVE REALLY A GENERAL MATH TYPE CLASS. SO THOSE ARE ALREADY IN PLACE. WE JUST NEED TO HAVE GENERAL MATH, AND A HIGHER LEVEL MATH, BUT WE WANT STUDENTS TAKING ARTS, WE WANT STUDENTS INVOLVED WITH MUSIC AND THEATER AND DRAMA AND ALL OF THOSE CAREERS, AND ALL OF THOSE INTERESTS THAT THEY HAVE IN THE FUTURE, INCLUDING TO BE A NEWS CASTER SOMEDAY.

>> WE ARE GOING TO TAKE A QUICK BREAK. OUR CONVERSATION ON THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION

>>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE, WE ARE TALKING WITH VERMONT EDUCATION SECRETARY ARMANDO VILASECA THIS MORNING.

>> SECRETARY, GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US THIS MORNING. THE GOVERNOR IS CALLING FOR A BETTER RESULTS ACROSS OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM FOR LESS MONEY. POINT OUT A FEW AREAS MAYBE THAT WE DIDN'T TOUCH UPON FOR TAXPAYERS AT HOME WHERE YOU SEE ROOM FOR REAL SAVINGS. WE TALKED ABOUT CONSOLIDATION, BUT WHERE ELSE SHOULD WE LOOK?

>> I THINK ANOTHER AREA AROUND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, YOU KNOW, VERMONT RIGHT NOW, ALONG WITH 43 OTHER STATES HAVE JOINED THE CONSORTIUM OF HAVING CALLED THE COMMON CORE, SO THAT MEANS ALL OF OUR STANDARDS IN VERMONT, STANDARDS AROUND THOSE 43 STATES WILL BE THE SAME. SO WHAT IT DOES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, NOW WE DON'T HAVE EVERY DISTRICT RUNNING THEIR OWN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR TEACHERS, CAN IT CAN BE REGION WIDE OR EVEN STATE WIDE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL WORKING TOWARDS THAT SAME COMMON STANDARDS. HOW PEOPLE GET THERE MAY BE DIFFERENT, BUT WE ALL HAVE THE SAME STANDARDS. SO AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, THE LEGISLATORS PASSED ACT 156, IT IS ONE OF THOSE AREAS OF LOOKING AT SUPERVISORY UNION MERGERS, AND SUPERVISORY UNIONS MEAN THAT YOU HAVE THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS STILL IN PLACE, BUT RATHER -- IT IS EXPANDING THE NUMBER OF DISTRICTS WITHIN ONE GOVERNANCE BODY. THAT WOULD BE ANOTHER AREA THAT WOO -- WE WOULD FIND SOME SAVINGS. THE GOVERNOR'S IDEA OF PROPOSAL ABOUT PRESCHOOL AND EARLY EDUCATION. THE SOONER WEE GET THE CHILDREN -- THE SOONER WE GET THE CHILDREN, THE SOONER WE CAN HAVE IMPACTS IN THE FUTURE, WHICH COULD REDUCE THE COST LATER ON OF INTERVENTIONS THAT MAY BE NEEDED.

>> THAT'S A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT. WE'VE HEARD 17 MILLION TO GET THAT OFF THE GROUND.

>> THE 17 MILLION IS TO PROVIDE SOME FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES WHO CAN'T AFFORD IT. THE PUBLICLY FUNDED PRESCHOOL IS PART OF THE AVERAGE DAILY MEMBERSHIP OF SCHOOLS, SO THAT ONCE WE ARE GOING TO PROVIDE SCHOOLS WITH SOME STARTUP MONEY SO IT DOESN'T COST THE COMMUNITY MONEY TO START A PRESCHOOL PROGRAM. AFTER A YEAR, THOSE STUDENTS CAN THEN BE COUNTED AS PART OF THE AVERAGE DAILY MEMBERSHIP, SO THERE IS A REIMBURSEMENT. THAT SHOULD NOT REALLY BE A HUGE DRIVER OF ANY DRIVER, BECAUSE THEY ARE GETTING ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENTS. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT HOW MANY OF OUR COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL OF VER MONTH, WHICH IS THE VERMONT CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES HIGH SCHOOL, 9 THE 0% OF THE -- 90% OF THE 23-YEAR-OLDS AND UNDER THAT DO NOT HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, SO THINK ABOUT, IF WE CAN GRADUATE MORE STUDENTS WHO ARE PREPARED FOR MEANINGFUL CAREERS, WHAT THAT WILL DO TO OUR INCARCERATION RATE, AND WHAT IT DOES TO FAMILIES, AND WHAT IT DOES TO SOCIETY AND SCHOOLS BY HAVING MORE STUDENTS GRADUATE. SO WHAT THE GOVERNOR IS LOOKING AT IS BOTH SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM BENEFITS TO THE STATE.

>> THIS IS A TOUGH BUDGET YEAR, THOUGH, FOR ANY KIND OF NEW PROPOSAL FOR SPENDING.

>> IT IS A TOUGH BUDGET YEAR, AND WE'VE HAD TWO OR THREE TOUGH BUDGET YEARS. RIGHT NOW, WE'RE NOT NECESSARILY LOOKING TO INCREASE BY A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT THE BUDGET FOR EDUCATION. WE CANNOT CONTROL AT THE STATE LEVEL, THE GOVERNOR CAN'T AND NEITHER CAN I THE LOCAL BUDGETS, SO WHEN WE HEARD THAT THERE MAY BE A 5 CENT INCREASE ON THE STATE WIDE EDUCATION PROPERTY TAX RATE, THAT IS NOT DRIVEN BY THE STATE OR THE GOVERNOR, THAT'S DRIVEN BY LOCAL NEEDS. AND THOSE NEEDS CAN RUN ANYWHERE FROM NEW CONTRACTS THAT THEY HAVE, HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS WENT UP ABOUT 14%. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME, OVER THE YEARS, BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN TOUGH BUDGETS FOR THE LAGS THREE OR FOUR YEARS, SCHOOLS HAVE HELD OFF ON SOME SERB THINGS -- CERTAIN THINGS, AND NOW THEY NEED TO BUY THOSE. SO THOSE ARE SOME COSTS THAT ARE DRIVEN NOT BY WHAT WE'RE DOING AT THE STATE, BUT WHAT THE LOCALS FEEL IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR THEIR SCHOOLS. AND, AGAIN, MY WHOLE CONCEPT OF HOW DO WE MAKE OUR SYSTEM BETTER FOR KIDS AND MORE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE IN THE LONG RUN.

>> WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS GOING TO BE IN THE PRIORITIES THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS PUT OUT THERE?

>> WELL, I THINK THE CHALLENGE IS CHANGING THE WAY WE'VE BEEN OPERATING. SCHOOLS, LIKE ANY OTHER ORGANIZATION, JUST DON'T MAKE CHANGES, YOU KNOW, BY SNAPPING YOUR FINGER. PARTICULARLY IN VERMONT THAT HAS OVER 270 LOCAL SCHOOL DISTREKTS, AND EVERY BOARD -- DISTRICTS AND EVERY BOARD HAVING CONTROL OVER THEIR OWN SCHOOL, I THINK ONE OF THE CHALLENGES OF HOW DO YOU GET ALL SCHOOLS -- WITHOUT LEGISLATION, EVEN THOUGH THE GOVERNOR IS MORE THAN WILLING TO GO FOR LEGISLATION, OR TO CHANGE IT THROUGH THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION RULES, THE MATH REQUIREMENT, LOCALS SHOULDN'T NEED THE STATE TO TELL THEM THAT ALL THE KIDS GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR A LEVEL OF MATH THAT WOULD OPEN UP DOORS FOR THEM IN THE FUTURE THAT THEY WOULDN'T HAVE IF THEY DIDN'T REACH THAT LEVEL OF MATH. SO THERE ARE FOLKS, EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN IN SCHOOL, EVERYONE HAS AN IDEA ABOUT HOW SCHOOLS SHOULD RUN AND HOW THEY SHOULD OPERATE RS SO I THINK SOMETIMES THE CONCEPT OF THE GOVERNOR TALKING ABOUT IT AND WE ARE TALKING ABOUT IT, MAY NOT ALWAYS BE EXACTLY WHAT LOCALS MAYBE THINKING ABOUT FOR THE FUTURE OF THEIR SCHOOLS.

>> YOU HINTED AT THE FACT THAT THERE MAY BE SOME LOCAL RUMOR AS TO WHETHER OR NOT YOU WOULD STAY LONGER THAN A YEAR. SAY YOU ARE HERE FOR A YEAR, YOU HAVE THE NEXT 12 MOST. TALK TO TAXPAYERS. WHAT REALISTICALLY DO YOU HOPE TO POINT TO AS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT IN ONE YEAR FROM NOW?

>> I THINK ONE YEAR FROM NOW, I WOULD PUT THE POINT AS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR THE GOVERNOR. AGAIN, I AM THE SECRETARY, BUT ANYBODY SITTING IN THE CHAIR IS REALLY SPEAKING FOR THE GOVERNOR, TO HAVE ALL OF OUR HIGH SCHOOLS REQUIRE THREE YEARS OF HIGHER LEVEL MATH FOR THEIR GRADUATES, FOR ARE THEIR STUDENTS, WHETHER IT'S ALGEBRA 1, GEE OM TRA, ALGEBRA 2 OR WHATEVER THEY CALL IT, THAT WOULD BE ONE, TO REQUIRE ALL STUDENTS BY THE END OF THIS YEAR TO HAVE A PERSONAL LEARNING PLAN SO THAT EVERY 7TH GRADER GOING INTO HIGH SCHOOL, FOR EXAMPLE, HAS LAID OUT WHAT THEIR CAREER INTERESTS ARE, AND WHAT THEY NEED FROM SCHOOLS TO GET THERE. BECAUSE I THINK THE CHALLENGE RIGHT NOW FOR MANY HIGH SCHOOL KIDS, WHAT -- IS WHAT I AM DOING IN HIGH SCHOOL GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN WHAT I WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE.

>> WILL YOU CONTINUE TO PUSH FOR A 2 HYUNDAI SCHOOL YEAR? THE -- 200- DAY SCHOOL YEAR?

>> I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK AT -- YOU HEARD ME SAY THAT A WHILE BACK, BUT I TALKED AT LENGTH THAT WE NEED TO DO MORE AROUND LOOKING AT OUR SCHEDULE. WE ARE WORKING IN THE 21ST CENTURY WITH A 19TH CENTURY CAL EBB DAR. WE'RE -- CALENDAR. SCHOOL STARTS IN SEPTEMBER, ENDS IN JUNE, K-3, WHY ARE WE HOLDING OURSELVES TO THOSE BOOK ENDS? WE CAN LOOK AT A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS OF ORGANIZING SCHOOLS THAT ARE MORE REACCEPT -- RECEPTIVE OF LEARNING IN THE 21ST CENTURY. COULDN'T THEY TAKE SOME OF THOSE CLASSES ONLINE? AN INTERNSHIP WORKING AT CIX AND GETTING HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT FOR THE WORK HE'S DOING HERE THAT ALIGNS WITH HIS WORK IN SCHOOL. SO I DO BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT HOW WE ORGANIZE OUR CALENDAR, THAT IS MORE REFLECTIVE OF TECHNOLOGICAL NEEDS AND A GROWING SOCIETY.

>> WE HAVE 90 SECONDS LEFT. THE GOVERNOR HAD HAD STARTED HIS SPEECH SAYING THAT WE HAVE A GOOD SYSTEM HERE. WHAT MAKES VERMONT'S CURRENT SYSTEM SO GOOD?

>> WE HAVE ONE OF THE BETTER SYSTEMS IN THE COUNTRY. WE HAVE THE SECOND HIGHEST GRADUATION RATE IN THE COUNTRY FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. WE HAVE SOME. HIGHEST SCORES IN THE COUNTRY, USUALLY IN THE TOP FIVE FOR ASSESSMENT CALLED NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS, WHICH COMPARES THE U.S. AND OTHER COUNTRIES ON THE SAME ASSESSMENTS. WE'RE ALWAYS IN THE TOP FIVE. DOESN'T MEAN WE COULDN'T BE BETTER. THE TOP FIVE STILL PUTS US BELOW THE TOP TEN IN THE WORLD, BUT THAT'S IN THE AREA. WE HAVE SAFE SCHOOLS. SCHOOLS THAT ARE VERY FAMILIAR -- FAMILIAL IN THEIR ORGANIZATIONS. COMMUNITY THAT SUPPORTS SCHOOLS AND SUPPORTS SCHOOL BUDGETS, AND HAS BEEN, EVEN IN THESE INCREDIBLY TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES. SO THOSE ARE JUST THREE OR FOUR. WE HAVE A WONDERFUL PROFESSIONAL WORK FORCE. WE HAVE TEACHERS WHO ARE LICENSED, WHO ARE DEDICATED, WE HAVE A DEDICATED PROFESSIONAL WORK FORCE AND THOUSANDS OF SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS WHO GIVE UP COUNTLESS HOURS OF THEIR TIME EVERY MONTH TO IMPROVE EDUCATION.

>> WE APPRECIATE YOUR TIME THIS MORNING, VERMONT EDUCATION SECRETARY ARMANDO VILASECA, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU.

>> THANKS FOR WATCHING, EVERYBODY. SEE YOU SOON.

>> HAVE A GREAT DAY. Captioning provided by Caption Associates, LLC captionassociates.com

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