Roper: Top VT Democrats advocate ending Vermont’s 150-year tuitioning program

By Rob Roper

At the June 6th Windsor County Democrats State Senate Candidate Forum, all three sitting legislators vying for election stated directly or implied heavily that their response to recent Supreme Court decisions (rulings that school choice programs like the one Vermont has had for over a century and a half cannot discriminate against religious schools) would be to end our tuitioning system entirely.

Rob Roper is on the Board of Directors of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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.”

When asked specifically if she was referring to Thetford Academy and the Sharon Academy in Windsor County, Clarkson added, “the Waldorf School, there are quite a few of them!” She went on to note about the four Traditional Academies, “My guess is it would be in play to come up with a special status [for them], but this will be a big challenge for us.”

That’s a big “but!”

When Senator Dick McCormack, one of the most senior serving senators, was asked the same question, after a short ramble he concluded with, “What she said,” referring to Clarkson.

And Representative Becca White, who is running for the open Windsor Senate seat, said “Whenever we have a drain against our public schools we are directly harming our most vulnerable children in our communities. So, in any instance that we could be supporting public schools over private academies, that’s where I stand. What concerns me on top of that is when we have private institutions that for low income students offer financial aid, and then are getting the cream on top, which is those vouchers.”

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. They have long desired to eliminate them and are clearly looking at the recent Supreme Court decisions as their excuse to do so.

Clarkson said that the only reason they (the Legislature) didn’t act in 2022 was because they were waiting for the Supreme Court to rule in Maine’s Carson v. Makin case regarding religious schools. Well, that ruling came down two weeks after the above comments were made, and the Court sided with the religious schools. So, families in Vermont’s 130 independent schools and the 8,800 K-12 students they serve had better start paying attention if you want your schools and your tuition vouchers to exist beyond this school year. Majority Leader Clarkson and her team are coming for you.

(You can see the full exchange on this link, with the relevant portion coming in the last 12 minutes or so of the video.)

Rob Roper is on the board of directors of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Image courtesy of state of Vermont
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20 thoughts on “Roper: Top VT Democrats advocate ending Vermont’s 150-year tuitioning program

  1. So Alison now that your children have been sent to out of state private schools there is no need for the law any more?

  2. Like so many Democrats, they frame the discussion as an “us against them.” It’s so ethnocentric, destructive and unnecessary. Turning a topic such as our children’s education into what they deem as political relevance is very manipulative and discriminatory. They are so ignorant of the consequences of this type of rhetoric that they don’t deserve a public position.

  3. If they refuse to provide the private schools with the funds . . . we could always give the funds to the parents directly and allow them to decide how to spend the funds – Problem Solved !

    • Brooke Paige……..Love ..just Love the way you so correctly say the TRUTH. Give Parents the choice……some competition for those dollars and children would be a very good healthy way to give public (government) schools a wake up call……especially in light of what that education now looks like……Thank you!!!

    • There are states that have passed laws where the education funds go to the student, where-ever the student decides to go, so goes the funds along w/ them. No politics, just straight up funds to the STUDENT!

  4. As a veteran homeschooler from back in the 1980s in MA we were able to choose the parts of public education that were beneficial and reject the useless, but it took a lot of standing up to city and town officials. Surprisingly our city school superintendent was supportive and my beloved wife was a devoted and courageous advocate for the John Holt unschooling movement. Both sons are common sense independent thinkers with one following in her footsteps, now educating 4. Unfortunately the corrupted power of the Horace Mann model has destroyed our Republic, it’s intended stated purpose back in the 1800s.

  5. They want the kids to go to Gov. Ed to get their indoctrination and assure them a long line of brainwashed voters.

    A Democrat is a person too stupid to know they are a Communist.

  6. So the DemocRATs, think this is a bad idea, they see their nest egg going in another
    direction and they can’t have that …………………..

    Taxpayers, it is your money and your children, and the money needs to go wherever they
    go that’s your decision, remember you’re going to hear the line ” It’s for the Children ” BS,

    NEA, public schools offer high pay, benefits no firing and they teach ” Indoctrination ” not an
    education, it’s your money take it and run !!

  7. They are saying people with kids in a town with no school can only send the kids to a public school, no matter how bad or far away it is. Vote out these communists.

  8. The reason bureaucrats and elected officials don’t like independent schools ( or people who think independently) is that they want to continue indoctrinating our children so they can control them and continue to have total power and hopefully gain even more power over our society. Hitler and the Nazis did the same thing in 1930’s Germany, and we all know what happened eventually there and to the world – DISASTER that impacted the entire world and millions of people.

      • “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money” -Alexis De Tocqueville

    • Jay these people are stunning! They are so openly evil.. with not a bit of concern what so ever about how they look, what we all think of them, that half the states population likely doesn’t agree with them.. none of this. They are Communist Totalitarians looking to protect the other Union Communist Totalitarians- and this right here is dangerous.

      I don’t know if you Vermonters get how bad they are because maybe you are all used to this behavior.. but to a NH Girl in a state that doesn’t operate this way..My mind is blown.

      I hope anyone thinking about moving to Vermont sees this.

      • Unfortunately, Laura: As I previously posted….

        According to U.S. Labor Stats, there are 52,700 government employees in Vermont. That’s 1 employee for every 12 people. Add them to the 61,000 health and education workers and you have a significant voting block…. about 40% of the non-farm work force. Then add the non-profit sector. While the specific number of non-profit employees isn’t listed, keep in mind that Vermont has more non-profits per capita than any other state. Then add their families and friends.

        Clearly, this segment of the workforce is addicted to the system and the only way to limit these taxpayer funded costs is to let the State go bankrupt and pick-up the pieces – if we even can. After all, like any addict, they will spend all of their own money, and then our money, to support their habit. And when they run out of that, they’ll begin stealing whatever we have left through property taxes and confiscation.

        Call it the ‘tyranny of the majority’ or the ‘tragedy of the common’. It’s an inevitable scenario.

        • Yup, for sure Jay.
          Then add in this Covid scam- which IS Part of all of this because they saw a giant payout coming IF they played the game as directed.
          Education played right along in growing fear, causing great harm to kids and pretty much destroying education and the public trust of it.

          Vermont did one of the hardest lockdowns in the country.. the state, along with bankrupt Massachusetts and NY all did.. NH didn’t play it that way but then we are not needing that money like they are either.. we get that there are a whole lot of strings attached to it and we are not so eager to feed at the government trough.
          Because, as you say so wisely, they are addicted to other people’s money. It is truly an addiction too, to money, control and power.
          They also think that all money that we tax slaves make is theirs anyway..
          It’s all pretty sickening.

          It’s not really that hard to connect all the dots anymore, they don’t even hide it at this point.

          • Connecting the dots is old news. The question now is what to do about it? Enough with the Symptoms. We need Solutions.

          • oh Yes Laura Stone…….and now our leaders can BLAME Covid for the test scores…….that have been in the dumpster for ..probably at least 15-20 years……and going downhill the whole time…….
            Blame……..Blame……..Blame its the name of the game

      • Oh we get it Laura, yes we get it.

        Our state just changed the sign down in Lebanon. It now says Welcome to Vermont, leave your wallet with us.

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