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For more than a century, Vermont has operated a viable and popular voucher system in 90 towns across the state. During the 1998-99 school year, the state paid tuition for 6,505 students in kindergarten through 12th grade to attend public and private schools. Families chose from a large pool of public schools and more than 83 independent schools including such well-known academies as Phillips Exeter and Holderness.
As more attention is given to vouchers in mainstream discussions about education reform, critics contend that vouchers are a new, untested concept and therefore must be implemented, if at all, on an extremely limited, experimental basis. Critics also argue that vouchers will lead to the establishment of fringe schools, skim the best and brightest students from public schools, and drain public schools of revenue. Vermont's long-standing program has done none of those things.
Vermont's voucher program has been running since 1869, nearly as long as the monopolistic public education model. It is worth noting that the voucher program has been a welcome part of the educational landscape for so long that the state collects no more information on voucher students than it does on students generally. And no hue and cry has been raised for more information to be compiled to justify the system's continuation. To the contrary, Vermonters generally assume that it is a parent's prerogative to select a child's school, and the burden of proof is on those who seek to take that choice away. This paper describes Vermont's voucher system and draws numerous lessons for education reformers and policymakers.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by the Vermont Foodbank. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2006, conducted for America's Second Harvest (A2H), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed in-person interviews with more than 52,000 clients served by the A2H food bank network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 30,000 A2H agencies. The study summarized below focuses mainly on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the A2H network.
Key Findings: The A2H system served by the Vermont Foodbank provides food for an estimated 66,200 different people annually. 31% of the members of households served by the Vermont Foodbank are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2). 35% of client households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1).Among client households with children, 82% are food insecure and 37% are experiencing hunger (Table 6.1.1). 38% of clients served by the Vermont Foodbank report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1). 28% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1). 30% of households served by the Vermont Foodbank report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1) The Vermont Foodbank included approximately 256 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 215 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 122 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter. 55% of pantries, 19% of kitchens, and 16% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1). 73% of pantries, 59% of kitchens, and 29% of shelters of the Vermont Foodbank reported that there had been an increase since 2001 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1). Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for the agencies, accounting for 64% of the food used by pantries, 33% of kitchens' food, and 37% of shelters' food (Table 13.1.1). For the Vermont Foodbank, 92% of pantries, 75% of kitchens, and 75% of shelters use volunteers (Table 13.2.1).
Safe Schools Coalition (Lifelong AIDS Alliance, a 501(c)3 is our fiscal sponsor);
Meta-analysis of quantitative research that explores the particular needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students and sheds light on the issue of anti-gay harassment in schools. The studies include six statewide surveys, two administered in urban school districts and one conducted in the schools of 55 American Indian tribes. The report looks at the three studies which had been done at the time in which students were asked about experiencing sexual-orientation-based harassment, at the rates as well as the correlates of this type of bullying and violence. It also examines and compares the findings of four studies in which students were asked their sexual orientation and five that asked proximal questions and then used them (alone or in combination with identity) to infer respondents' "actual" sexual orientations. Proximal variables included gender(s) of people with whom the respondent has had sexual experiences, gender(s) of people to whom the respondent feels attraction and/or expects to have sexual experiences, and gender(s) about whom the respondent fantasizes.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by The Vermont Foodbank, Inc. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2010, conducted in 2009 for Feeding America (FA) (formerly America's Second Harvest), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed inperson interviews with more than 62,000 clients served by the FA national network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 37,000 FA agencies. The study summarized below focuses on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the FA network.
The FA system served by The Vermont Foodbank, Inc provides emergency food for an estimated 61,100 different people annually.33% of the members of households served by The Vermont Foodbank, Inc are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2).36% of households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1).Among households with children, 84% are food insecure and 34% are food insecure with very low food security (Table 184.108.40.206).42% of clients served by The Vermont Foodbank, Inc report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1).23% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1).25% of households served by The Vermont Foodbank, Inc report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)The Vermont Foodbank, Inc included approximately 252 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 252 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 162 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter.40% of pantries, 30% of kitchens, and 11% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1).Among programs that existed in 2006, 83% of pantries, 80% of kitchens, and 71% of shelters of The Vermont Foodbank, Inc reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1).Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for agencies with emergency food providers, accounting for 71% of the food distributed by pantries, 36% of the food distributed by kitchens, and 36% of the food distributed by shelters (Table 13.1.1).As many as 91% of pantries, 91% of kitchens, and 59% of shelters in The Vermont Foodbank, Inc use volunteers (Table 13.2.1).
John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development;
The intent of this study is to identify state policies and procedures that are designed to ensure
that people with disabilities and/or parents with children with disabilities are provided the
opportunity to participate in state TANF programs. The intent is not to present "best practices," with quantifiable and measurable outcomes. Many state TANF programs are still in their early stages, with new programs being developed and outcomes still uncertain. The intent is to present an in-depth "snapshot" of what is occurring right now at the state level in terms of services and programs designed to assist TANF recipients with disabilities. Are states developing programs and policies specifically targeted toward people with disabilities? Are people with disabilities being served on an individual basis as part of the overall TANF population? Are states developing innovative strategies that particularly benefit TANF recipients with disabilities and, if so, what are they? By identifying these strategies, this report may assist other states in their policy development process in support of people with disabilities and parents with children of disabilities.
Transportation for America;
In 2015, Congress will once again debate transportation funding at the federal level. It would be in the best interests of the nation for them to fix the perpetual shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund and set the country on a path toward a 21st century infrastructure. It is important to note that all of the states that have acted thus far, and those working to do so this year or beyond, are doing so in expectation of ongoing federal support.
Governors and legislators have acted because states face growing needs and static or falling revenues. The situation has been made worse by federal funding that has remained flat as costs have risen, and could grow disastrously worse should Congress reduce federal support in the upcoming renewal of the national program.
Regardless of what happens in Washington, states know that Congress will never appropriate enough support to close the gap needed to address maintenance backlogs and build for the future. Governors and legislators recognize that they can be leaders on this issue, working across party lines, generating new funding mechanisms, and creating new coalitions in support of transportation investment. The strategies and examples discussed in this report are intended to be a helpful guide for those emerging leaders as they navigate the unique context of their own individual states to pass transportation revenue legislation, and in turn, set an example for others to follow in the future.
Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED);
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.
Vermont Council on Rural Development;
VCRD launched the Vermont Digital Economy Project to offer free support to speed flood recovery, spur economic development and job growth, and improve community resilience to disasters. The project worked directly with Vermont towns affected by 2011's floods to help businesses, nonprofits and municipalities expand their use of online tools. Together with project partners, we helped increase digital literacy and online workforce training, added Wi-Fi and other public access points, brought a community-based social network to every Vermont town, created town websites and community calendars, promoted the use of "cloud" applications, and provided customized small-business and nonprofit training.
Vermont Council on Rural Development;
This report summarizes the use of technology to create resilient communities, build effective organizations and bridge the digital divide. Digital tools, the Cloud, and the Net, were used to support many of their cornerstone values: community, mutual support, creative entrepreneurism, farm and forest enterprise, and strong downtowns.
Presents case studies of state policies for reorganizing and improving primary and chronic care delivery among small practices, including leadership and convening, payment incentives, infrastructure support, feedback and monitoring, and certification.
Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured;
Based on case study interviews and state data, evaluates the impact of a waiver introduced in 2005 to improve Medicaid beneficiaries' access to home and community-based services while reducing the use of nursing home care and controlling costs.