Forum, Aug. 16: Tests and More Tests; Market Basket

A Situation That Had to End

To the Editor:

The editorial “Loyalty and Profits at Market Basket” in the Sunday Valley News Aug. 3 was excellent.

“Let them eat cake!”

“Hell, no,” said the customers. At my age, nearly 80, like many others, I have been there when workers had to unite for their rights. I was also there when I thought they were too demanding and expecting too much ... like their birthdays off and more.

Lately, I have been alarmed at how fast those rights were being taken for granted and how quickly those rights were being ignored, forgotten or even no longer expected — fair pay, raises, benefits, equal pay, seniority, safety, hours, vacations, sick time, breaks, job definitions and more. Only this time, the service industry providers — formerly known as blue-collar workers — are not respected for their hard work. They are being degraded as lazy, uneducated freeloaders living off the benefits of others or government. They are kept in part-time, low-paying positions on the “sandy beach” below the poverty level and have sand kicked in their faces while their CEO “surfers,” with compensation nearly 250 times higher, not only ride the crest but are revered as swell.

This had to end. Maybe it is a family feud, but it was so blatantly wrong to kick dirt at Arthur T. Demoulas, who owned 49.5 percent of the stock, built Market Basket to the level it is today and strongly supported his work force doing it. For him and other supporting managers to be forced out and not even allowed to purchase the chain was enough. The non-union workers revolted, and Market Basket customers supported them. What a great lesson in democracy — the equal rights of others. Let’s hope it spreads ... from the bottom up.

Dorothy Duffy

Laconia, N.H.

So Many Tests, So Little Time

To the Editor:

Kids are being picked to death by the vultures of standardized testing, until childhood resembles an open wound of data printouts: NECAP tests, MAP tests, SAT tests, ACT tests, PISA tests, No Child Left Behind tests, Common Core tests. Just when one wound is healing, adults inflict another wound on American kids.

Psychologist Elizabeth Young-Breuhl has coined a word for this phenomenon: “Childism.” Judith Warner, a senior fellow at the Center for American progress, wrote that Young-Bruehl believed that Childism brought us No Child Left Behind, that it bulldozed over children’s individuality and focused on test scores and other statistical indicators, ignoring the developmental needs of the child.

Now, after nearly two centuries of resisting the citifying influence of New York, Vermont has decided to add another vulture to this flock of flesh-picking children’s tests, one which smells very much like New York’s “exit exam” for all high school students, called the Regents Exam.

The Vermont Agency of Education — now a cabinet puppet of Governor Shumlin — has issued a “directive” that by 2020 all school boards are to create yet another exam to satisfy the data-driven appetite of modernity, this one called a Proficiency Exit Exam (with the poetically apt acronym P.E.E.), which every Vermont high school student will have to pass before he or she can graduate from high school.

Voila, the Regent’s Exam of New York has come to Vermont in sheep’s clothing.

Adults should be ashamed of themselves for silently going along with this national form of discrimination against our children. Oh, it’s not discrimination on the basis of skin color or religion. Much, much worse. Children are being discriminated against on the basis of brain development.

Some children are late bloomers. I was a late bloomer myself. I always did poorly on standardized tests, even to this day — despite the fact that I managed to get four college degrees.

Every parent knows, you cannot rush a rose — even with the fertilizer of Proficiency Exit Exams. Children grow at their own rates.

Vermont should not imitate New York, despite what the governor and his Agency of Education think.

Paul D. Keane

White River Junction