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Press Release

Vermont-NEA President Don Tinney’s Statement on Governor Scott’s Ed Secretary Nomination

President Don Tinney's statement regarding Governor Scott's appointment of a for-profit charter school executive for Secretary of Education.
Published: March 27, 2024

At a time when Governor Scott knows that Vermont students need a strong leader to promote, protect and strengthen public education in Vermont, the cornerstone of democracy, he has appointed a for-profit charter school executive to be Secretary of Education. Private schools like the one Governor Scott’s appointee promoted in her tenure at Charter Schools USA drain our public schools of precious resources. Vermont students and educators need those resources to ensure that programs and services are in place to meet the needs of our children and youth and their families.

I enjoyed my meeting with Zoie Saunders on Tuesday and found her to be engaged and excited about the possibility of moving to Vermont. I was very transparent in our conversation and made it clear that our members have serious concerns about her experience in promoting private, for-profit charter schools. We need a champion of our public school system, especially since the Roberts Supreme Court’s Carson decision which allows public tax dollars to flow to religious schools.

Not only do our students need a champion for their public schools, but our educators also need a leader at the Agency of Education who knows what it’s like to work in a classroom, on a school bus, in the cafeteria, and on the playground in 2024. While I might not have always agreed with Secretary Dan French on every issue, I respected the fact that he had worked as a classroom teacher, a principal, and a superintendent before being named Secretary of Education.


The Union of Vermont Educators

The Vermont-National Education Association is the union of Vermont educators, 13,000 professionals who teach the state's children every day. As the state's largest union, Vermont-NEA is proud to represent the people who make a difference in the lives of students in classrooms across Vermont.