Vermont Progressives criticizes school consolidation and supporting Lockheed Martin

Below are two excerpts of blog posts from the Vermont Progressive Party website.  Read the full post by Morgan Daybell here.

Ultimately, the push for consolidation (as enacted last year under Act 153) may close down the schools that the DOE is now celebrating. And promises in that bill that a new district “shall not close any school within its boundaries during the first four years” after the merger is really telling boards like ours: “enjoy the next four years; after that you are gone.”

The last four years have left many school board members feeling embattled–not by voters, who largely rejected former Gov. Douglas’s calls to defeat school budgets as a way to send a message to Montpelier, and current Gov. Shumlin’s “Vote Twice” scheme to make school budgets harder to pass. Rather, we are embattled by Montpelier, and laws like vote twice, consolidation, and Challenges for Change. We frequently spend more time in school board meetings trying to find out what has been done to us by Act 153 than we spend on discussing what we can do to continue to chip away at the achievement gap.

Imagine instead if the Statehouse acted as a partner with local schools, addressing issues where they could actually help: health care costs, SPED funding, and how we raise education revenue. And imagine if they left teaching to teachers, governance to school boards, and voting to the voters. We’d certainly welcome them from the back of the auditorium and the recesses of their committee room to be allies in the work we are doing for our schools.

The full piece on Lockheed, by Meg Brook, can be read here.

In December, when I first heard about a possible contract between the city of Burlington and Lockheed as part of our Carbon War room I was shocked, disappointed, scared, and appalled. My mind raced with questions. Why would we associated with a multi-billion dollar company that profits from war and destruction? (Lockheed gets 85% of its revenue from the Department of Defense.) Why would a Progressive invite such a company into our city or state? What justification could there be for this collaboration? As much as this seemed like a no-brainer to me, I started to dig deeper and do some research. I wrote to Mayor Kiss [a Progressive], I attended public forums, and I opened my mind to the possibility that maybe there was a positive benefit to this idea. After two months of searching I have found no possible benefit to this collaboration and stand even more firmly against this contract

So two months later I find myself still shocked, disappointed, scared, and appalled but also educated, angry and motivated to fight this contract. I hope others will join me and the many who are speaking out on Monday, February 7 at 7:00PM for a Burlington City Council Meeting. We must show Mayor Kiss and the City Council that we are committed to addressing the climate crisis but we will not sell out to Lockheed Martin to accomplish this. We deserve so much better than this and we must oppose this contract.

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