Park house to host education debate

MANCHESTER - The Ethan Allen Institute (EAI) and the Public Assets Institute (PAI) will face off this winter in a series of three debates on the proper role of government in education.

The second debate will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 14, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at:The Park House Activity Room in Dana Thompson Park at 340 Recreation Park Road in Manchester.

This event is free and open to the public, and will be moderated by Andrew McKeever, editor of the Manchester Journal.

The majority of Vermont communities operate public schools. However, in 93 towns - a little more than a third- residents have chosen not to operate their own schools but instead pay tuition to allow students to go to any school of their choosing - private or public.

"School choice" advocates see this 150-year-old practice of allowing communities to tuition their students as a model for the country.

Supporters of the public education system maintain that local schools provide the foundation to communities and democracy.

These points of view will be debated by representatives of two of Vermont's leading think tanks. Ethan Allen Institute president Rob Roper and Daren Houck, Headmaster of the Mountain School at Winhall, will argue the case for the publicly funded independent school model for providing education. Public Assets Institute president Paul Cillo and Bill Mathis of the National Education Policy Center will make the case for the public school system.

The first debate in this series took place in Lyndonville on Dec. 13.

The final debates will take place in February in Montpelier. Details to be forthcoming. These debates are made possible by a generous grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.


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