By Stu Lindberg
In April 2015, the Vermont Legislature passed House Bill 361, better known as ACT 46, with bold promises of increasing efficiency, lowering property taxes and creating greater educational equity “for the children.” These promises were false. Instead, this law is forcing too many of Vermont’s rural schools to close, putting our teachers out of work and laying waste to our small towns. At the same time, education property taxes continue to rise.
Voting roll call records show that 36 Vermont NEA-endorsed Democrats voted for ACT 46 — that is, they used their legislative power against the interests of teachers, students, parents and taxpayers. All these lawmakers, including Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, who served on the state Senate committee that created ACT 46, receive glowing endorsements from the Vermont NEA.
In Windsor County, state Sens. Alice Nitka and Alison Clarkson voted for ACT 46, while Dick McCormack voted to raid the education fund in 2011. Note that Clarkson sent her children to an elite private school in Massachusetts. These three career politicians are endorsed by the VT NEA.
Such facts should lead us to ask though questions: Why does the powerful teachers union, the Vermont NEA, support legislators whose votes close schools and put teachers out of jobs while protecting the positions of education bureaucrats? Why do parents and teachers in Vermont continue to vote for candidates that act against their interests?
Stu Lindberg writes occasional commentary for True North Reports. He lives in Cavendish, Vermont.