John Klar: The many enemies of school choice, parental rights in Vermont

state of Vermont

Democrat state Sens. Dick McCormack and Alison Clarkson represent Windsor County.

State Sen. Dick McCormack waged war on unvaccinated children during the COVID panic, throwing the Constitution out the window and comparing unvaccinated children to drunk drivers. Many scientifically-informed opinions oppose vaccinations for healthy minors, but McCormack pulled out all the stops to make schools hostile toward these families. He penned a public letter to the Agency of Education, and pushed a bill to eliminate the religious exemption for the experimental (and largely ineffective) COVID vaccine:

Windsor District Senator Dick McCormack, who sponsored the bill, said the bill centers squarely on the right to safely attend school.

“Kids have a right to go to school and that right to go to school would include the right to go to a reasonably safe school,” McCormack said. “… Freedom of religion is not a freedom to violate other people’s rights.”

If religious parents did not want their children jabbed, “state Sen. John Campbell stated “only homeschool will be available to them.” (Of course, Vermont seeks to further restrict homeschooling as well).

This Orwellian doublespeak is found also in the Vermont Senate’s effort requiring that independent schools have “adequate safeguards to ensure that none of the tuition for which payment is requested has been or will be used to support religious instruction or worship or the propagation of religious views.” In the name of separating church and state, Vermont’s progressive ideologues are engaging in the exact government censorship prohibited by the anti-Establishment Clause.

The more Vermont progressives inflict their unauthorized, unscientific “theories” relating to identity politics on others’ children, the more obviously they are establishing a new pseudo-religion. To defend their novel cult, they seek to prohibit free-thinking families from departing, and engage in anti-religious infringements in the name of “protecting the Republic.”

Senate Bill 219 states:

Conditions for eligibility of an approved independent school to receive public tuition. An approved independent school shall be eligible to receive public tuition only if all of the following conditions are met….

(2) None of the public tuition will be used to support religious instruction, religious indoctrination, religious worship, or the propagation of religious views, except for religious instruction that is designed to provide an overview of religious history and teachings and does not support religious instruction, religious indoctrination, religious worship, or the propagation of any one religion or theology over others. As used in this section, “indoctrination” means to instruct in a body of doctrine or principles.

Critical race theory and social justice theory clearly constitute “a body of doctrine or principles,” as does climate change, gender theory, secular abortion arguments, gunphobia, and many other whacked-out partisan progressive views being systematically imposed on Vermont public school children using taxpayer funds against their wishes.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court case poses a fatal obstacle to this insidious state indoctrination of Vermont’s children by their public schools and elected officials. Carson v. Makin struck down a Maine program that similarly excluded religious schools from public funding:

A State’s antiestablishment interest does not justify enactments that exclude some members of the community from an otherwise generally available public benefit because of their religious exercise. … The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment protects against “indirect coercion or penalties on the free exercise of religion, not just outright prohibitions.” Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Assn., 485 U. S. 439, 450 (1988). In particular, we have repeatedly held that a State violates the Free Exercise Clause when it excludes religious observers from otherwise available public benefits.

Vermont’s anti-religious leaders bristle that they must be compelled to abide by this basic constitutional guarantee: they have vowed to cancel all public support to all independent schools rather than allow religious schools to receive the fair treatment mandated by Carson. Even before they had heard the decision, they had vowed to defy the highest court in the land:

Senator Alison Clarkson, who is currently the Democrats’ Senate majority leader, and in a strong position to influence her caucus, said flat out, “I know we will have a battle royal if the Supreme Court decision comes down and says public money will be able to go to parochial schools and to religious institutions, and I think that will call the question on public dollars going to private independent schools. It is already a challenging subject for many legislators.” ….It’s no secret that many legislators in the majority party are openly hostile to Vermont’s independent schools and are resentful of the fact that many do a better job of educating children for less money than their public school counterparts.

In the last two years, thousands of Vermont parents have become aware of this onslaught against their children. As John McClaughry aptly summarizes:

One wonders how many Vermont parents believe that their public schools offer their children a quality product, especially when their unionized teachers are, by last year’s resolution of their national union, committed to teaching “that a person is defined above all else by race, gender and sexual orientation, and that American institutions are designed to ensure white supremacy and ‘the patriarchy.’”

Progressives seek to collect taxes from Vermonters to support this Constitution-hating, government-established cult in public schools, while undermining efforts to shield children from its harmful host of horrors. This is as unsustainable as the similarly failed state pensions system, now bloated beyond salvage and left for the taxpayers to fix.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2022. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of state of Vermont

4 thoughts on “John Klar: The many enemies of school choice, parental rights in Vermont

  1. It seems there is a large amount of hypocrisy from the Left regarding Government funding of religious organizations. They whole heartedly approve as long as it is for a cause of their choice. Take the border crisis and the hundreds of millions of dollars federal agencies are donating to religious organizations in exchange for making the immediate problem of Illegal Immigrants disappear.

    But when it comes to parental rights and educating our kids, they refuse to allow tax dollars to go toward the best choices to solve the problem of declining education. I believe this is a misinterpretation of the meaning of separation of church and state. In times past, there was strength in the fact that the citizens worshiped God and community through local Christian churches.

    Today, more and more, the “progressive” elements want you and your children to worship only the government.

  2. Parents better wake up, they are your children and if you want well rounded and
    a real education pull them from the public schools and put them in a school that
    will educate them, and not indoctrinate them, and don’t listen to this left-leaning
    fools …….. just read this article !!

  3. Great news, John! All we need is a parent to now sue the State & teachers Union…because religion is banned by public funding: “(2) None of the public tuition will be used to support religious instruction, religious indoctrination, religious worship, or the propagation of religious views…” CLIMATE CHANGE is a cult, IT IS a religion!. There are dozens of articles, if you search, listing exactly how and why. VT teaches Climate Cult Religion…and all things Leftist, Liberal and “sustainable”.. The cult leaders cannot be questioned….here’s part of a great piece:

    “Has anybody noticed the ideology of the Progressive movement has significant similarities to the psychology of cults? Both are premised on brainwashing and lies. They both grow by hoodwinking people to distrust their
    sensibilities …. Think global warming, abortion and the scientific assignment of gender for instance. The recruitment process involves a radical extremist group seeking out people who are fed up with the way society is run, and they offer a solution to everything they dislike about society if they join their group….People seek out communities that validate their beliefs no matter how kooky they might be. These cults offer attractive promises. Think free healthcare for everyone, free college, reparations for slavery, a guaranteed income whether or not you work for it, and affirmative action programs that go on in perpetuity. The victimology theme must constantly be renewed. This is accomplished by continually keeping people in a fit of rage… Hence, Progressives’ constant reminders of racism, discrimination, gender bias, Xenophobia, and homophobia, (Climate Change)….Thus also the creation of Black Lives Matter and the Woman’s March on Washington, Occupy Wall Street and Antifa. Rallies and demonstrations serve as their meeting places. Slogans like ‘tax the rich,’ ‘no blood for oil,’ ‘no justice no peace,’ become a rallying cry—a thing to stay organized around. These strong emotions make people angry and want to lash out at people outside their group, like police officers…If you are black and don’t call out whitey at every turn, your blackness is questioned. You a traitor to your race. Also, don’t try to tell me that global warming true believers actually understand it as science. The cult of climate change leaders say that the science is settled and that there is no room for a counter view. All disagreeing voices are labeled climate change deniers worthy of punishment.”

  4. If citizens want to manage the education of their own kids our society’s investments in schooling resources needs to be returned to them. The obstruction forces they face are formidable Are folks beginning to wonder if some kind of large scale grassroots tax-refusal movement is going to be necessary?

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