.…and our court system thinks that’s just fine!
by Rob Roper
In September 2021 the voters in the district for Windham Elementary School narrowly voted to close the school, which only has a little more than a dozen students, allowing those students to instead participate in Vermont’s “tuitioning” school choice system. Families in districts without a public school are allowed to send their children to any approved independent or public school of their choice. It’s a great system. Parents love it. Not only do kids get to find the right school that fits their educational and social needs, it saves taxpayers, on average, over $5000 a year per kid.
Of course, the government-run public school special interests and their allies in state and local government hate it. Freedom… effective… efficient…. What’s not to hate?
So, following a petition drive and re-vote — one tainted by voter fraud efforts led by former Democrat Majority Leader (now retired) Hon. Carolyn Partridge in which the State Representative appears to have misled and induced ineligible non-residents to vote — Windham Elementary remained open and the kids trapped in its zip code net were once again forced to attend the tiny school. At least those who could not afford to buy their way out by paying private tuition.
A lawsuit followed in which the parents of roughly half the student body (seven kids) sued for the right to tuition their children to someplace else that would provide a better education than what the assigned school was offering (not, apparently, a high bar as we shall see) because, according to the complaint, “their children are not receiving a substantially equal educational opportunity compared to students in towns which pay tuition for their residents.” Under Vermont law all kids have a “right to equal educational opportunity.”
The lawsuit failed when Superior Court Judge Michael Kainen ruled that the “Plaintiffs were not likely to win on the merits because they could not demonstrate that their children did not receive substantially equal educational opportunity.” Back in the hole, kiddies!
But here’s what the “educational opportunity” that those kids are receiving consists of…
Jenna Cramer, the teacher/principal of Windham Elementary, was apparently putting the kids in front of a TV during the school day to watch age-inappropriate content including PG-13 movies and a music video played for kindergarten through second graders in which a man drinks and drives and smokes while transporting a woman who is tied up in the back seat of his car. Later in the video a person’s head is blown off by a shotgun.
Another video featured a llama saying the “F” word, which is admittedly kind of hilarious, but of dubious educational value for students of elementary school age.
None of the three staff members at the school — the principal, the teacher and the administrative assistant –are licensed/qualified to teach students at the levels they are doing so, and, according to allegations reported in the Brattleboro Reformer, “no curriculum has been implemented, because, according to the teachers, they have not been provided sufficient supplies.” On top of all that, as of November 1, the principal, Cramer, has been fired. While this seems right and just, it does leave the school with only one unqualified teacher and an admin – perhaps with no supplies or curriculum – “educating” this group of children.
It’s hard to say which conclusion is more concerning about Judge Kainen’s ruling: that he looked upon this situation and with his infinite wisdom did not see the “irreparable harm” being done to these boys and girls, or that he looked at this situation and didn’t find it to be “substantially unequal” to the educational opportunities experienced by other children in other public schools.
Maybe he’s right. These kids were exposed to an F-bomb dropping llama, which is a lot more preferable to being isolated and restrained in a locked, padded closet covered in your own excrement for hours on end like the students in Fair Haven. (See: Why is the Vermont Media Ignoring the Curt Hier vs. Slate Valley School Board Story?) You can’t read, kid, (See: Why Can’t Vermont Kids Read? Left Wing Ideology Trumped Evidence) but maybe you can count your blessings.
The question for Vermont voters is are we really going to go along with the Vermont Teachers’ Union et al’s plans to reward itself for manufacturing our dysfunctional public school system with hundreds of millions of dollars on top of the $2 billion plus we already give them, and entrust them with more and younger children who will be in too many cases, with all due respect to the judge, irreparably harmed by this widespread incompetence and abuse?