Op/Eds

In November 2016, voters in Starksboro, and in Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and New Haven, voted to approve the consolidation of our school districts, changing from one school board governing each school, to one MAUSD board governing all six of our schools (five elementary schools and Mount Abraham Middle/High School). The Articles of Agreement that voters in each of our five towns, and the Vermont State Board of Education, approved when they agreed to form MAUSD in 2016 include the following: “After four (4) years of operation the new SD may close a school conveyed to the new SD by a Forming...
I looked first for what I could appreciate in Heidi Recupero’s response to Joanna Colwell’s letter in support of flying the Black Lives Matter flag at the Middlebury Union High School (Letters section, Sept. 30 and Sept. 9, respectively). I found most of it in the parts of her letter that did not address what Ms. Colwell was saying. For instance, Ms. Recupero concludes “This could be a wonderful teaching moment for students at the high school.” But nothing in Ms Colwell’s letter said flying a BLM flag should end the discussion. Why can’t an ongoing “teaching moment” occur just as easily or to...
I tried to resist the urge to write about gardening this year. In past years I’ve always produced at least one column focused on the agony and ecstasy of my horticultural ventures, but this year it dawned on me that talking about your gardening is a little bit like talking about your health: It’s personal, and — while people will nod politely — nobody really cares. Still, here I am, writing about my garden, because something unusual happened this fall. My gardening trajectory is roughly the same from year to year. Sometime around March, full of optimism, I sit down with the seed catalogue to...
Vermont gets a good press, and I’ve generated my share of it — especially after the pandemic years I’m proud of the Green Mountain State. But this is a different kind of story: a story of a state that’s failing to understand we’re actually in a climate emergency, and so continuing with business that looks a lot like usual. I think that that’s typical of too many places — and since science says that business as usual must end right now to deal with our crisis, it seems to me a story worth telling. It begins with a man named Thomas Hand, who grew up in the Manchester region of the state, along...
Science denial has become deadly. Too many people are defying the most basic health measures that can prevent COVID-19 — vaccines, masking, and social distancing. Some have died while denying its very existence. Many political leaders have failed to support what scientists know to be effective. Like me, you might be wondering: How did we get here? What can we do? How do we learn to talk to others and make a difference? Science denial is not new. Galileo lived out his life in house arrest for his heretical claims that the earth revolved around the sun. Now, with the planet in peril and a...
According to social media, we have just wrapped up “Hot Girl Summer.” I am not a hot girl and consider summer the season of sweating and bugs, so I skipped the trend. As far as I can tell, it was mostly young women “being their best selves” by posting bikini pictures online and pretending the pandemic was over. While hot girls were radiating confidence by twirling in sundresses, I spent most of the summer pacing, waiting for the chance to finally say those magic words: “Gonna be good sleeping weather tonight.” I’ve reorganized my sock drawer and ceremonially returned our heaviest comforter to...
40th in a series In 1971, Harvard University Press published “A Theory of Justice.” Its author was a professor of philosophy at Harvard, John Rawls (1921–2002). It is a work of profound scholarship, and, during the half century since its publication, it has become a classic, or, at the very least, a classic of political liberalism. I will conclude this series of essays on the life of the mind in America with a brief account of it, for although Rawls’s book was written for scholars and not the general public, its theme concerns us all. To begin with, Rawls takes it as given that all of us...
Thank you for printing Bram Kleppner’s letter urging changes in the education property tax. Our representative Mari Cordes has submitted an excellent bill, H.388, which would relieve the staggering impact of the existing education property tax, especially on seniors and lower income Vermonters. As many communities struggle to find a way to keep their local schools, and as many homeowners find themselves with crushing tax increases, this bill would help to resolve both urgent problems. The bill is apparently still in the Ways and Means Committee. Hopefully it will reach a floor vote soon. Bob...
Author’s note: The following letter to the editor reflects only my views and not the views of the Addison Central School District Board of which I am a member. Also, I was not in the Vermont House when Act 46 was passed. ——— In last Thursday’s Independent, Angelo Lynn penned yet another anti-Act 46 and school consolidation editorial for which he provides no substance for his usual unfounded criticisms. Chief among them is his continued myth that Act 46 has caused discussions about closing schools. It has not. Enrollment declines, per-pupil spending increases and concerns about equity of...
I have worked as an educator for over 50 years, and I have seen a lot of less-than-stellar ideas, but nothing like what is happening right now. Towns in the Mount Abraham Unified School District (and elsewhere) are in a fight for their very existence. They realize that schools are far more than learning centers. They are critical places where community gets built. Superintendents and school boards whose very job is to do what is best for all its students seem to have become the nemesis. If Lt. Gov. Molly Gray recognizes that it will be very hard to create an attraction for young families to...

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Addison County Independent