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Letter: Vt. Legislature Is Arrogant

To the Editor:

“Vt. Senate Votes for Ban on Privatizing Schools” (March 16) was a small article, but it spoke volumes about Vermont.

The town of Westford wants to consider changing its schools from public to private, following the lead of two other Vermont school districts that have already made the change. What does the Vermont Senate do? It declares a two-year moratorium on the process while it “studies the matter.”

What aspects are going to be studied? Well, there are “legal and constitutional issues.” There are also Sen. David Zuckerman’s questions of “how it affects our kids and equal access to education.” I believe both of these are red herrings.

If there are already two Vermont school districts that have made the change, why were they allowed to do so without someone questioning “the legal and constitutional issues.” And, if the answers to the questions in this study are fatal to the schools, does Vermont plan to force the closure of the two existing schools and make the moratorium permanent? Or would Vermont make whatever legal changes are necessary to allow parents to choose how they want their children educated?

Sen. Zuckerman and others in Vermont government believe that the government knows better than parents what the education model should be. They believe that parents are unable to judge how the change would affect their children and might, somehow, damage their children’s future. They believe that those wanting to affect the change are blind to all children’s education needs and will exclude some children to the benefit of other children. They also believe that only government can assess what children should be taught and when. What arrogance. What an insult to parents.

The reasons for wanting to change are really irrelevant. The only consideration should be to permit parents to determine how they want their children to be educated. Vermont ought to let local schools and parents of children that attend them decide the education model that the parents believe will best serve those children.

Alan Tanenbaum

Grantham