Rather than pay tuition to religious schools, Dem senators would end all independent school tuition

Top VT Democrats advocate for ending Vermont’s 150 Year tuitioning program

By Rob Roper

At the June 6th Windsor Co. 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.

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.”

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.

Families in Vermont’s 130 independent schools and the 8800 K-12 students they serve may want to pay attention about tuition vouchers existing beyond this school year.  

You can see the full exchange on the 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 

Categories: Education

16 replies »

  1. How do we get an official declaration that Marxism is a religion? Clarkson, McCormack, and the rest of the far left Democrats in Montpelier worship at the idol of old Karl Marx with more fervor than an evangelical at a revival. Proof enough that Marxism is a religion and we all know that the dogma dominates the curriculum in Vermont’s public schools. A legal declaration of Marxism as a religion would put an end to tax dollars funding everything but teaching kids how to read, write and do arithmetic.

  2. McCormack is a New York City area rat who came to Vermont to alter it drastically. It apparently was too much for him to stay put in his neighboring state knowing he could aid in the destruction of VT by just packing a few bags & taking a 4 or so hour car ride.

    Of COURSE, he wants to end this 150 year old tradition – he well knows that parochial schools instill traditional values & morality and teach that abortion is wrong, homosexual acts are immoral, people cannot alter their biological gender, and genuine equality is NOT synonymous with preferential treatment.

    Go back to gang-bangin’ NY, McCormack – your perversity & amorality isn’t wanted here.

    Again, hope you’re not “threatened” by my free speech. And if you are? Who cares.

  3. Clarkson has long been against tuitioning to any private schools, not just religion-affiliated ones. Her kids went to Choate, a privilege she obviously believes should not be available to the non-rich.

  4. This whole mind set is aimed at undermining a growing awareness in the constituency. Parent, as the educational agents for their children, are becoming aware that they have been disenfranchised.
    The schooling monolith is in charge. One of the protective obstacles erected is that the monies confiscated for schooling as “publics” money can’t be used for…fill in the blank with the plethora of conditions about the use of “public taxes”.. If the monies went to families instead to the public tax pool, families would be re-enfranchised as their kids educational agents and the schooling enterprise would be transformed. Legislation letting the money follows the kid needs to be on the agenda. .

  5. The provision of public money to private/parochial schools is a common practice in a number of states. It helps relieve pressure on public schools. There shouldn’t even be such controversy.

  6. Whenever we have a drain against our public schools we are directly harming our most vulnerable children in our communities.“ So your solution is to harm more children. Who’s interests are you serving? Where’s the equity in that? Democrats / progressives offer more harm and pain for Vermonters. My vote goes somewhere else.

  7. It’s cuz they want kids to go to Gov Ed. Heaven forbid they miss out on the indoctrination. They must insure you have a long line of brain washed voters.

  8. Of course they would, they’re here to protect the government machine. The power trip these career politicians are on seems highlighted by elitism. Public school wasn’t for Clarkson’s kids but the message is clear: the elected officials control the taxpayer’s money and decide what’s best for the education of the state’s children based on said official’s belief system.
    The system is broken.

  9. This is what happens when voters keep electing the invasive out-of-state, not from Vermont, grifters to run their state. A person with common sense would get it by now, that progressives do not care about your children, their education or your well bring. They care about control, a failed ideology wherever practiced and to secure their righteous ego. These people are not the best and brightest and neither are the people who vote for them. They have created a legislature of people foreign to Vermont who dragged their progressive policies with them to change this once great state. To those of you who keep banging your head on the wall and supporting these types of people, enjoy your miserable life. Common sense is apparently no longer common and these people like it that way. Let the indoctrination continue or vote them out. TAKE BACK VERMONT!

  10. So–These Dem-Hack Union Butt Kissers would rather condemn Vt.’s kids to an intellectual death than allow the money to follow the pupil? And forcing kids as young as 6 to learn “gender bending” & the USA is a racist country? Funny– Won’t see THIS on the “TV News”, man do I miss the Martin Family & Marselis Parsons @ channel 3..

  11. Compare the education of nationally recognized St. Johnsbury Academy to public education and then see how they do it for about $K less per student. The dems really have no clue what they’re doing and frankly, don’t care. Gee I wonder if they consider the indoctrination factor.

  12. It isn’t now nor has it ever been about the children. Money power and agendas are on the menu. Hey legislators, why not forbid your subjects from leaving the state next.

    • True, it is not about the children. Never has been. All about controlling control of the education, money and influence. The idea is to indoctrinate the children to the Progressive Program oof the liberals!

  13. Add Lyndon Institute to the list of private schools which have provided excellent enducation for a century!!!

  14. Not an issue…. Just dump ( I mean place ) these students into the public systems and watch the ensuing scramble with the NEA declarations of being understaffed and underfunded. Of course we run the risk of tainting additional students with progressive agenda drivel. Again, not an issue as they will be there only a decade or so. Based on public system test scores they basically have no influence at all.

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