A comparison of an urban and a rural public school adult education program in Vermont

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching and Leadership


Roger Heimstra


Essex Junction & Randolph, Vermont, adult education

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching


Documentation of public school adult education program development in Vermont is lacking. A description of factors that relate to adult education growth and development in Vermont is needed.

This study was designed to examine adult education in Vermont and to provide a descriptive and systematic comparative analysis of the development of an urban and a rural public school adult education program in the state. The study focused on the similarities and differences that were observed during program development.

Interviews were conducted with eighteen education leaders in Vermont who were involved in some capacity with adult education. In addition, Essex Junction and Randolph, Vermont, adult education programs were examined. Data on the two programs were obtained through personal interviews, written communications, brochures, newspaper clippings, documents, and literature. Factors such as location, resident adult education attainment, and population growth were also considered.

The results suggested public school adult education programs in Vermont develop differently. Growth and development are affected by the degree of commitment the program receives from the school board, superintendent, area vocational center director, and adult education director, as well as by the cooperation and interaction of community businesses and the educational goals of adults.

An observable difference in adult education program development was found when a small rural school with a close working relationship to a vocational school was compared with a large urban school with no such relationship. The small rural school showed more financial support and advocation from both the local school board, and the administration. The small public school adult education program developed more quickly and provided a stronger program due in part to the support of an area vocational educational center. Community needs, other types of available educational opportunities, educational attainment level of community residents, local job market opportunities, quality of program offered, and accessibility to program site all affected program development.


Open Access