Education Justice Coalition of Vermont

Montpelier, VT


The Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools (VCESES) is a coalition of  Vermont residents who firmly believe that diverse ethnic and social groups need to be accurately represented in the Vermont Education system from pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade. Our coalition is a multicultural and multigenerational group including people of diverse racial, ethnic, social, and gender identities, economic backgrounds and geographical regions of Vermont.

The lack of attention to the histories and contributions of non-dominant racial, ethnic, and social groups in school curriculums contributes to the marginalization of members of these groups and leads to a standard of miseducation for all students.  Including the history and contributions of people from more diverse racial, ethnic, and social identities can enrich students’ achievement, positive identity development, and sense of awareness and connectedness to local, national, and global communities.

In July 2017, the Oregon legislature passed HB 2845, mandating the establishment of statewide Ethnic Studies Standards for Oregon K – 12 Schools.  

As Vermont residents, we believe Vermont should be the second state to pass such a bill mandating the Vermont Agency of Education to incorporate the rich histories of ALL of its people within the pre-K-12 curriculum.  The definition of ‘Ethnic and social equity curriculum in schools’  is the instruction of public pre-K-12 students in the histories, contributions, and perspectives of people of diverse racial, ethnic and social groups.

This bill, which was drafted by VCESES and Representative Kiah Morris and introduced as H.794 by Representatives Morris of Bennington, Christie of Hartford, Colburn of Burlington, and Rachelson of Burlington, directs the Agency of Education to convene an independent, majority people of color Advisory Working Group comprised of advocates from diverse ethnic and social groups, experts in ethnic studies, and representatives of Vermont education agencies and associations. The charge of the Advisory Working Group is to develop statewide ethnic studies standards for adoption into existing statewide standards for public prekindergarten through grade 12. The bill would require the department to publish annual reports on the implementation of standards in public pre-kindergarten through grade 12 studies.

It would also identify standards that:

  • increase cultural competence of students
  • increases attention to the history, contribution and perspectives of ethnic and social groups
  • promote critical thinking regarding the history contributions, and perspectives of ethnic and social groups;
  • commit the school to eradicating racial bias in its curriculum
  • provide access to curriculum that enables students to explore questions of identity, racial equality and racism
  • ensure that basic curriculum and extracurricular programs are welcoming to all students and take into account parental concerns about religion or culture.


Non-dominant racial, ethnic, and social groups include racial and ethnic groups such as Native American or People of African, Asian, Pacific Island, Chicano, Latino, Latinx, or Middle Eastern descent. Social groups such as women, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQIA people.

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