Letter: I will be voting no on my school budgets

This letter to the editor is by Stu Lindberg, of Cavendish.

For curious and responsible Vermont citizens the Vermont Education Dashboard is a website tool for finding out how Vermont kids are doing in our government schools. It is not the easiest to use, and for individual schools does not show test data past 2019. The site does show aggregate data for all Vermont schools in 2021. My local government-run high school is Green Mountain Union High School in Chester, Vermont. This is what I learned in the dashboard about student performance at GMUHS.

In 2019, 54 percent of 11th grade students at GMUHS were below proficient in science. Fully 64 percent of eighth grade students were below proficient in math. Fully 23 percent of ninth-graders were below proficient in language arts. Language arts is at least one bright spot.

Statewide in 2021, 58 percent of 11th grade students in Vermont were below proficient in math; 70 percent of students in the ninth grade were below proficient in science. 45 percent of ninth-graders were below proficient in language arts.

The poor results of these tests have real world implications for all of us, but especially the children we are supposed to be educating. It is easy to point blame individually or collectively at teachers, administrators, politicians, school board members and parents, but ultimately the blame falls on every citizen who chooses to stay uninformed and apathetic.

As a former parent and a former school board member at both CTES and GMUHS, I attempted to raise concerns with many of the shareholders in our schools about these and a number of other issues. It was a clumsy effort on my part. I was outnumbered but I could and should have done better.

One thing I learned was that if throwing more money at education was a solution, every student would be capable, successful and happy. Every year the school budgets increase with little improvement in the ability of the students to function in the world.

The board members and leadership at the TRSU and GMUHS are looking to spend an incredible amount of tax dollars on renovations and upgrades in our school system. This spending, while overdue and necessary if these buildings are to stay functioning, needs to be weighed against what is happening or not happening with the students that occupy them.

As with most citizen concerns these days, I expect my own to fall on deaf ears and blind eyes. The last resort in getting the people in charge to listen and to see is to shut off the money supply. I will be voting no on my school budgets. It is past time to pause, reflect and change course away from what is going wrong at Vermont’s government run schools.

Stu Lindberg
Cavendish, Vermont

Image courtesy of Public domain

9 thoughts on “Letter: I will be voting no on my school budgets

  1. Hear, hear! I urge everyone to vote down school budgets. It is irrational to support the very thing that is at the heart of this country’s — and state’s — destruction.

  2. Better late than never Stu. I have been keeping my eye on what has been going on for over 15 years. I never had a child in the Vt. education system (thank God) but when I’m spending over $5,000. a year just for my education taxes, I want to see how it’s spent.
    My late husband’s grandchildren used to spend a few weeks in the summer with us. They went to a school district in New Jersey. Now I’m not saying this with blinders on for reasons I don’t care to discuss but I was shocked to see how well educated these three boys were. I saw the difference between the education they received and what VT taxpayers are funding. Being that we are paying the second highest in education taxes in the nation, these children should be, in the least, ready for college when they graduate, but they aren’t. I also worked as a substitute for a short amount of time and saw how these children were pushed through the system. I feel that when a teacher has eight children in her classroom, with multiple aides, it isn’t too much to expect that seven of the eight will pass the state test. Not one passed. This is unacceptable.
    I have gone to a few school board meetings. I have heard the chairman of the school board say that they don’t teach English, math and Social Studies anymore. Well, then what are they teaching!!?
    If the parents don’t keep a close eye on what is going on in the classrooms, it is never going to change. I also noticed on the Front Porch Forum that the Governor’s University of Vermont is pushing the teachers to send students to them so they can get them involved in climate change activism. This is not good because it is another form of indoctrination. God help us.
    I honestly don’t know why anyone would vote to pay more taxes, especially after seeing what is going on with the unions. I don’t know of any other occupation where you are guaranteed a raise every year even if you don’t do your job. It seems to be a losing battle unless the taxpayers wake up.
    When you go back on the education website, there is a letter from the Governor stating that he is concerned because he feels the children aren’t getting a good education and if they kept the percentage at around 2%, then they wouldn’t have to put the higher tax burden on the taxpayers, but they don’t care.
    I’m glad there is another person that can pass the word on and get people to look at the data on that education website.

  3. The bottom line question for parents is do you want your child to engage life like a subject or like a disciple? The state’s only tool is force, which can manifest itself as coercion or fear. Force produce subjects the obey out of fear.

    By contrast parents operate out of love and hope for the best for their children, albeit with too many exceptions in a culture that does not value human life. Love and hope create disciples, who follow a path on their own free will.

    Even well-meaning people enter the teaching profession with a dream of instilling a love for learning and life into their students have their dreams cancelled in a state-controlled school as they are mandated what they are to teach and even what and how they are to think.

    When will parents stop pretending that an environment of force, coercion and fear can somehow be a good environment to mold the thinking of their children? It is time to stop the willful ignorance and train up your children with love so they will develop a liberty mindset, instead of bondage mindset. Have the past two years of mandate-crazed governments taught us anything? Break free from the bondage model, starting with your children or grandchildren and then help others break free.

    If you go to church, consider rising up to the calling of the church – disciple the nations, which starts with discipling your community.

  4. Good on ya Mr. Lindberg – keep ’em coming – appreciate the serious efforts and putting yourself out there on behalf of us all, really. Keep up the great work and thank you sir 😀

  5. Larry Carbonetti, a Springfield teacher who previously had taught at one of the very best school districts in America, gave a talk in 2015on how the public is conditioned to expect public education to be bad. The first thing that happened after No Child Left Behind was passed was that hedge funds started investing in standardized testing companies. He personally knew one woman (his childhood family’s neighbor) who was paid $100 for every test question she proposed and was accepted by one of those companies. The woman called his mother one day. “The cheese in my fridge has a green coating on it; do you think I should throw it away?” He also related how graders of the essay question answers were recruited on the basis of availability rather than scholastic expertise. For Wall Street, the bottom line is a great motivator for “educational reform.”

    Of course, it’s been in the interest of Wall Street to keep the public dissatisfied. Public education money is the sole remaining pot of gold that privatization hasn’t been able to loot. The companies do what they can to make it look like they care about education rather than profits. One collection of hedge funds now calls itself “Democrats for Educational Reform,” but limits its idea of reform to pigging out at the trough.

    All the above of course has put the US at #17 in world rankings. School boards are woefully under- equipped to do anything about any of this.

  6. Stuart should be thanked for his efforts to share this information with the taxpayers in his school district. Way past time for the partisan agenda and incredibly poor decisions of these school boards to be called out for what they are. They have put the blackmail money paid by Governor Scott to school districts with high jab rates, ( which have proven ineffective, especially in the youth population which has a zero statistical chance of death or serious complications from covid, and forcing students to wear masks which can’t prevent transmission from them or to them.
    Doesn’t matter to Scott, Levine and the school boards though.
    You can demand this foolishness stops or you can continue to support the people who have ca$hed in on causing physical and psychological harm to the students.
    Disregard the fact they are failing to teach your Children and Grand Children the basic skills they need to graduate.

    • School boards have little to do with what goes on in schools. Mostly they are rubber stamp for anything the administrators say is needed or want — and they mostly get their direction from the state and the union wants. Vote no on budgets until the state gets the idea we are tired of their ideas.

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