Polls consistently show that American parents generally favor their children’s neighborhood school and think it’s performing pretty well — whatever their opinion of public education nationally. Such attitudes help to explain why in many communities school consolidation and closings create discontent and political divisions.
That’s the case in Vermont, where there’s anxiety about how Act 46, which gives considerable power to the state, will play out. The school reform law enacted last year encourages — or mandates, depending on your viewpoint — schools and districts to combine in order to achieve more efficiency at less cost. The law is yet another attempt by the Legislature to check rising school budgets in a state where enrollments are falling.