States News

November 01, 1989 2 min read

A governor’s commission and an organization of business leaders in Vermont have issued separate reports calling for sweeping changes in the state’s educational system.

Gov. Madeleine M. Kunin’s Commission on Getting Ready to Work, established in 1988 to study how well the state’s schools were preparing students for employment, recommended in a report issued last month that the state abandon its “general track,” or non-college-preparatory curriculum.

The report, entitled “Target 2000,” called the general-track curriculum “unfocused,” “second-rate,” and “a ticket to nowhere” for the 40 percent of the state’s secondary stuwho are enrolled in the track.

It also recommended that school be held year-round in two- to three-month blocks to aid retention and keep students from falling too far behind before receiving remediation.

In a separate report issued last month, the Vermont Business Roundtable, a group of 140 chief executives, recommended after a one-year study that the state implement choice and merit-pay programs to hold educators accountable for teaching certain basic skills.

Commissioner of Education Richard P. Mills said the state’s school system needs to undergo a “massive overhaul” to meet the recommendations of the governor’s commission.

However, Mr. Mills disagreed with the Roundtable’s merit-pay and choice recommendations, saying that merit pay fails to account for the team-oriented nature of education and that choice may be ineffective in rural areas with transportation problems.

Educational programs should be made available to every 3- to 5-year-old child in Wisconsin, a new report by a statewide commission urges.

The recommendation is among a number of ambitious changes suggested by the Advisory Commission on Early Education, Child Care, and Family Involvement. The 36-member group, appointed in April by Herbert Grover, the state superintendent of public instruction, presented its findings in a report last month.

The group also recommended that before- and after-school child care be available to parents throughout the state. And it called for the establishment of information centers for parents in each school district.

A commission made up of representatives of the various state agencies involved would coordinate such efforts. At the local level, the group recommended, similar councils should determine what services are needed in their areas and which agencies could best provide them.

“The schools can’t do it alone,” said William Decker, the commission chairman. “And, with growing numbers of families with both parents working, we see a real need for this.”

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 1989 edition of Education Week as States News