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New law will address student performance standards

April 1, 2019

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Under a new Vermont law, a working group is expected to be formed by Sept. 1 to advise the State Board of Education on making student performance standards more inclusive.

The 20-member group will be tasked with reviewing the standards and recommending updates and additional standards “to recognize fully the history, contributions, and perspectives of ethnic and social groups.”

Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed the bill Friday.

“We come from many ethnic and racial backgrounds,” said Amanda Garces of the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic Studies and Social Equity in Schools at the bill signing ceremony, WCAX reported. “We are intersectional and we are who made this happen.”

The act also proposes to require the Board of Education to publish hazing, harassment, or bullying incidents, broken down by student group including ethnic and racial groups, poverty and disability status and English language learner status.

The bill also aims to ensure that schools diversify their workforce and provide training on how to best deal with bias incidents.

The working group is expected to make its recommendations on updates and additional standards on or before June 30, 2021. The board then has a year to consider adopting ethnic and social equity studies standards into the statewide standards for student performance.

“We took this on and everybody in this room has a piece of this. And hopefully the children, the people we’re hearing in the background, will benefit from this work,” said Democratic Rep. Kevin Christie of Hartland, a lead sponsor of the bill.

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