Education

Many fine gourmet food carts grace Vermont 's downtowns, but most of them take a break this time of year.
 

However, there's one food cart -- indoors at the University of Vermont -- that's active September through May. FeelGood Grilled Cheese offers a tasty, localvore sandwich -- and a worthy cause to support.

The “feel good” part is both in the local ingredients, prepared by energetic students -- and in their mission, which is “Ending world hunger, one grilled cheese at a time.”

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Flanked by educators and state education officials, Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday announced the  statewide launch of Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) for all students.

The plans are already in place at some schools in the state, but legislation taking effect this year requires all schools to adopt the practice. The goal of the PLP program is to create a path for all Vermont students toward post-secondary education.

Shumlin said the mandate won’t require additional resources, but will institutionalize best practices.

The University of Vermont’s faculty union publicly decried a growing salary gap at the university between top administrators and faculty this week, ahead of contract negotiations with the university.

The union, in a press release about the issue [PDF], said the average salary for top university officials (the president, provost, deans and vice presidents) grew 53 percent between 2003 and 2012, while the average faculty salary grew 39 percent over that period.

Gregory Bull / AP

On Wednesday, students at Ludlow's Black River High School and Middle School will be practicing yoga, learning to cook, playing board games, making art, and learning massage techniques. If it sounds like a relaxing day, that's exactly the point. It's being called Life is Good Day, and in a letter home to parents, Principal James Frail said the idea is to help kids learn how to cope with stress.

Vermont State Colleges

In his budget proposal last week, Governor Peter Shumlin asked the legislature to increase state funding to both the University of Vermont and the Vermont State College system by two percent, beginning in January 2015. But the outgoing chair of the VSC Board of Trustees says that’s not enough, and that the increase is unfairly divided between UVM and the state colleges.

Toby Talbot / AP

Many Vermont legislators and policymakers have spent the last two days at special summits at UVM and St. Michael's College. These two summits focused exclusively on education policy and finance- issues that will surely come up quite a bit in this legislative session.

We’ll talk to the new Education Secretary, Rebecca Holcombe, about her vision for the future of education in Vermont…and how to pay for it. We'll also hear from Tammy Kolbe, an Assistant Professor of Education, Leadership and Policy at the University of Vermont.

Albert Einstein once expressed a crucial scientific truth: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” This identifies the foundation of our faith in science: self-correction.

Scientific advances depend not just on one researcher’s breakthrough, but upon the work of others attempting to replicate the research and confirm the results. Confidence comes with replication and with the fact that failure to replicate results invalidates the research.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has found its way into a controversy that has some American colleges and universities at odds with the American Studies Association, a group that promotes American History and culture. That’s because the ASA recently issued a resolution to boycott Israeli universities over that country’s treatment of Palestinians.

Middlebury College is a member of the ASA and is among up to 20 other colleges and universities that, in response, issued a statement condemning the ASA boycott.

Champlain College announced Friday that its board of trustees has named Donald J. Laackman as the new president of the Burlington-based college.

Laackman will replace current president David Finney, who is retiring in June.

The newly-named president will join Champlain from Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he has been president since 2011. Before that, Laackman worked for Civic Consulting Alliance, a group that aided Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's transition to power.

Sally McCay

During the holidays, it's become a favorite American pastime: Family members grill their college-going sons and daughters about what they’re going to do after graduation.
 

For students facing student loan bills and a tough job market, it can be excruciating.

And with President Barack Obama calling for a federal college-rating system that would measure job and income-related outcomes, more colleges and universities are putting their career services front and center.

The football season has ended for most colleges, and the annual feast of bowl games, topped off by the national championship game in January, will soon command the attention of fans nationwide. Here in northern New England, none of our colleges participate in the much-anticipated Bowl Championship Series, so we should have enough perspective to forget the games momentarily and consider the damage that commercialized college football can do to the young lives it ensnares.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Students at Johnson State College are learning to use music as medicine for what the college says is the nation’s only bachelors’ degree in wellness. To bring a real-world perspective to the academic offerings, harpist Linda Schneck recently gave a musical lecture demonstration.

Charlotte Albright

As Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca leaves his job at the end of this year, one of his final reports is sparking debate between the Ethan Allen Institute, a think tank that promotes free-market policies, and the Public Assets Institute, which champions publicly funded education.

The first face-off was at Lyndon State College on Dec. 13.  

Sandra Carrillo

This week dozens of Vermont schools have been participating in a global effort to underscore the importance of technology to future job skills.

The project called The Hour Of Code is designed to serve as an introduction to computer science.

A couple of generations ago code was the stuff of spies, or ham radio enthusiasts.

“Code is computer programming and stuff like that,” says Northfield third grader Brianna Norton.

Code – the language of computer programming - is seen as a critical skill for people of Brianna’s generation.

Over the course of the next ten years, more than half of all Vermont teachers are expected to retire.

To help deal with this demographic change, Vermont’s teachers union will ask lawmakers to adopt several proposals to encourage more young people to enter the education workforce.

When we turn on the faucet in Vermont, we expect clean water.  But for a third of the world, safe drinking water can’t be taken for granted. Native Vermonter, Carolyn Meub is Executive Director of Pure Water for the World, a non profit run out of Rutland that’s been tackling this issue in Central America and Haiti.

(Meub) They don’t have what we have; don’t have clean, safe drinking water; they don’t have a toilet in or outside their home. It’s not that they don’t want it, it’s that they don’t have the means and they may not even understand the importance of it. 

DANIEL HULSHIZER / AP

If you’re thinking about going to college, it can be hard to find a place that’s right for you- the right size, the right culture…. and the right price. Would it be easier if the government made a list that rated colleges by value? That’s something President Obama has proposed.

P Donovan / Flickr

Vermont’s high school graduation rate of 88 percent is higher than the national average, yet the percentage of graduates who go on to college is lower.

That paradox was at the center of a day-long discussion at the University of Vermont on Tuesday.

I came to appreciate the importance of language in health care when my bilingual mother returned to live in Brattleboro after spending a few months with her sister in Puerto Rico. Suddenly and without apparent reason, she began to speak only in Spanish.

In the eight months before her death, only one of the many nurses, caretakers, therapists, lab technicians and emergency personnel who attended her spoke or understood Spanish.

Charlotte Albright

Over the weekend, 150 students from 17 schools all over Vermont competed for a chance to take their Lego robots to  a championship round in New Hampshire next month.  The competition is sponsored by a non-profit called FIRST, an acronym that stands for  “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”

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