S66, opposition to religious school tuition ‘petty, close-minded’ – There is something petty and close-minded about the Democratic/Progressive legislators who, under S66, would destroy the much-admired Vermont town-tuition system in order to prevent a small minority of parents and students from choosing a religious school under the tuition system. Their argument: they oppose teaching religion at the taxpayers’ expense.
Never mind that religious schools such as Rice Memorial High School meet the state certification standards and attract non-religious students as well as religious students.
Never mind that non-religious independent schools such as Sharon Academy, Compass school, Thaddeus Stevens and many others would be caught in the S66 web and could no longer qualify for the town-tuition program.
And most important of all, never mind that the public schools—at taxpayer expense—teach a Progressive value system, most egregiously about sexuality, without the consent of most parents. If Rice and others forfeit tuition vouchers for including religion in their curriculum, why can the public schools teach woke?
Either we are all free to express our beliefs and values or none of us are. That is the essence of the recent SCOTUS decisions about vouchers and schools. – Carol Frenier, Chelsea
Churches with unshoveled steps a sign of decay – While the snow is still on the ground and you are riding around the beautiful Vermont countryside, take notice of the churches with their front steps not shoveled and ponder: why?
These churches are dead. They will become “historic monuments.” Then later the Progressive Liberals, who are well versed in statue toppling anyway, will come and topple over the steeples. And thus the decay of America. – Ron Pal, Danville
Why is government helping China build a battery plant in U.S.A.? – The CIA and FBI identify China as a global competitor and the greatest geo-political threat to our Country. The China Communist Party (CCP) is influencing our politicians, business, labs, youth, colleges, and research. Intellectual property theft amounts to ~$500B annually.
Ford announced that they are partnering with CATL, a Chinese battery company, and building a $3.5B battery plant in Michigan. The building will be owned by Ford. Ford is also paying for CATL’s battery technology. Michigan celebrated the Ford announcement and Governor Whitmer (D,Mi) offered $1B in state incentives for the plant.
Chinese technical personnel will help staff the facility. However, the CCP requires personnel working outside of China to be a conduit for national intelligence and information whenever asked. That includes espionage and intellectual property theft.
Virginia was the first location favored by Ford. Governor Younkin (R,VA) considered Ford a front for CCP, opposed siting a plant there and feared CCP would compromise our national security and citizens’ privacy. Democrat opposition slammed him for the loss of 2500 jobs.
Senator Rubio (R,FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raised concerns about Ford’s connection to the CCP and CATL. He wanted to be sure no federal funding or credits were used and warned that CCP policies and laws support CCP objectives.
China expert Gordon Chang’s recent article “China Lasers Hawaii, Prepares for War” supports his premise of their intent to surpass the US and become the world leader. Is it in our best interest that Ford is choosing China over patriotism? – Frank Mazur, South Burlington
I would venture to guess that many of the current legislators are atheists and under a system of governance such as Communism or socialism (one in the same) or Marxism – the government itself displaces God. It is twisted and egomaniacal and genuinely diabolical, and here we have it because….absolute power corrupts absolutely. In short, Vermonters don’t require God, for their gods are now Dick Sears, and Dick McCormack and all the rest in Montpelier. They and they alone are who you venerate now.
While clarifying our opinions as ventured guesses, it’s important to understand the difficulty and potential inaccuracy in assessing someone’s state of mind. And even if our assessments prove to be correct over time, it’s equally important to understand that everyone, including our legislators, have the right to think and believe in any way they choose – as long as they don’t impose their beliefs on others against their will. And herein lays the sticky wicket.
The ONLY form of governance that can possibly achieve consensus is that in which everyone has equal access to choose those goods and services each individual believes is in his or her best interests. I may not agree with Marxism, Critical Race Theory, or someone’s Gender Dysphoria. But I recognize that if I want the freedom to choose a path other than those specific advocations, I must recognize the rights of others to follow them.
As long as our society agrees to fund education with public money, and as long as individual liberty and freedom are to be respected – regardless of where that liberty and freedom leads anyone, equal access to a free and appropriate education (FAPE) must be provided.
And that liberty and freedom is contingent on two systemic tenants.
First, the definition of education cannot be regulated by the State beyond what is protected by the constitutional rule of law.
Second, every child’s parent should be eligible for the same School Choice Tuitioning voucher, to be used to attain the educational program they deem best for their children, whatever that happens to be – a typical public school, an independent school, a religious school, homeschooling, or some combination thereof.
As Carol Frenier correctly points out, Senate Bill 66 is the antithesis of liberty and freedom. No matter what one’s personal sensibilities, S. 66 is tyranny incarnate.
I have long supported allowing parents to decide where and how to educate their children, at public expense, and I have outspokenly opposed a public school monopoly. However I strongly support separation of church and state. and oppose any state subvention of sectarian activities, including education. A similar example: I am happy with SNAP food stamp recipients choosing between Price Chopper and Shaw’s, but I oppose the state giving tax dollars to those stores to better feed the needy. (not that they have ever asked.). The Supreme Court upheld my view in its Cleveland voucher case of 2002, that I wrote about at the time.
A Clarification: First of all, the First Amendment does not address only the ‘separation’ of church and State, it addresses the ‘prohibition’ of the free exercise thereof. The two aspects are not mutually exclusive.
Further, the SCOTUS, in its Cleveland School Choice case, Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, determined that the public funding of religious schools exercised in School Choice governance was specifically not ‘state subvention of sectarian activities’ as long as there were alternatives to religious schools available. Sandra Day O’Connor’s prescient concurring judgment stated the following.
“Three times we have confronted Establishment Clause challenges to neutral government programs that provide aid directly to a broad class of individuals, who, in turn, direct the aid to religious schools or institutions of their own choosing. Three times we have rejected such challenges.”
“Our holding thus rested not on whether few or many recipients chose to expend government aid at a religious school but, rather, on whether recipients generally were empowered to direct the aid to schools or institutions of their own choosing.”
Importantly: O’Connor’s concurring opinion reiterated the following.
“The incidental advancement of a religious mission, or the perceived endorsement of a religious message, is reasonably attributable to the individual recipient, not to the government, whose role ends with the disbursement of benefits.”
There should be no mistaken interpretations. When a parent receives a State funded Vermont Tuition Voucher, and that parent chooses to spend it at a religious school, there is ‘no state subvention of sectarian activities’.
Correction regarding Ron Pal’s comment: It is not “Liberal Progressives” who want to tear down churches. It is real estate developers and wealthy businessmen who covet the land on which these churches stand.