Vermont Report: Nov. 7

Colchester Teachers’ Strike

The teachers’ strike in Colchester is over. The Unions once again succeeded in beating the daylights out of taxpayers, shaking down the Colchester community for a 12% pay increase over the next three years with no major changes to their Cadillac health insurance benefits even though the townspeople can’t afford it. How did they pull it off? By holding a community and two thousand kids hostage for eight days – putting jobs, lives, and education on hold at a huge personal cost in vacation time, childcare, lost wages, etc. for thousands of hard working Vermonters. The teachers, of course, will suffer not at all. They got their ransom, and, here’s the kicker, still get to keep the hostages! All the kids they walked out on are all back in their hands today, guaranteeing that they can pull this sort of stunt again. It’s good to be a government-protected monopoly.

Teaching a Bad Lesson

So, what did the kids learn during their 8 day absence from the classroom? That you don’t get what you want in this world by working harder and providing a better product; you get ahead by not working at all and providing nothing. Sit cross-legged in the middle of the floor and hold your breath until you turn blue. This is a fundamental problem with our 19th Century school system as it enters a 21st Century Economy in which American kids will have to compete more and more on a global level under global rules. This is the reason, I suspect, Bill Gates warned that American schools are obsolete. “By obsolete,” said Gates, “I mean that even when they are working exactly as designed – cannot teach our kids what they need to know today.” You can’t prepare kids to be entrepreneurial, hard working, innovative, competitive, and to measure success only in terms of results when you represent none of those values yourself, and in fact, are systematically and philosophically hostile to them.

Contact local media to register your opinions on this issue:
Burlington Free Press:
Colchester Sun/Essex Reporter:
Seven Days:

Parents Deserve Comprehensive School Choice

The Colchester Community was vulnerable to this attack because, in the end, they had nowhere else to go. It is time for parents and taxpayers to stand up and demand the right to vote with their feet, and demand the right to use their tax dollars to send their children to any school that will best meet the needs of that individual family. Enough is enough.

I would encourage Colchester residents (and others) to read “How to Privatize a Public School in Vermont” on the Vermonters for Better Education Website at:

They Got Their Money, Got their Benefits. Don’t give them our 3 & 4 year olds, too!

The truth regarding attempts to expand Vermont’s public schools by two years is beginning to leak out. It seems that the school districts didn’t receive the official talking points from Senators Collins (D-Franklin), Condos (D-Chittenden), and Rep. Cross (D-Winooski). The three C’s have spent the summer and fall writing and speaking in hopes of convincing people that all their shenanigans have nothing to do with a public school expansion. It’s not a gift to the Unions in the face of declining enrolments. It has nothing to do with opening new preschools in the pubic schools. All this talk is just FreedomWorks scare tactics, after all! They only want to help private providers by collaborating with them, and certainly don’t want to put private providers out of business!

Now, here comes an article by Chris Parker in the Bennington Banner in which he quotes school officials from around Southern Vermont about their intentions to… open preschools in order to compensate for declining enrolment. Here are some quotes:

“Nevertheless, area school officials are talking about consolidating their districts through the closing or merging of school buildings, or adding preschool classes in vacant spaces.” Not partnering with local providers.

“Declining enrollment is one of the reasons [Shaftsbury Elementary School Principal] Netsch and other leaders are exploring adding a preschool within the next year, which could draw roughly 30 students. Pownal is also considering adding a preschool.”

Draw students from where? Private providers who will be driven out of business.

Here is the link to the full article:,1413,104~8676~3101877,00.html
Here is the reporter’s contact address:

Please Contact: Sen. Jim Condos (D-Chittenden):, 863-4654; George Cross (D-Winooski) –, 655-4611. And ask them to explain the contradiction between what they are saying and what is really happening to real people.

What’s Does “Early Education” Mean?

A big part of the Universal Preschool debate is what’s the difference between “daycare” and “early education.” Public preschool proponents have argued vociferously that the School Districts are better qualified to determine what a “high quality” early educational experience is — and should have the power control who gets the money to deliver it.

Consider this claim in regard to a story by Susan Jones out of California in which she writes:

On Wednesday the court dismissed a lawsuit brought by California parents who were outraged over a sex survey given to public school students in the first, third and fifth grades. Among other things, the survey administered by the Palmdale School District asked children if they ever thought about having sex or touching other people’s “private parts” and whether they could “stop thinking about having sex….” On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit dismissed the case, saying, “There is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children… Parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students.”

Now, this is not to say that this kind of material will necessarily be part of a Vermont Universal Preschool education system. But it should illustrate that school districts do not always exhibit the best judgment in determining what is best – or even appropriate material — for young kids, and just how dangerous it is to subjugate the will of parents to an out of touch, legally sanctioned monopoly.

Please Contact: Your legislators ( and tell them NOT to support Collins’, Condos’ and Cross’ attempts to give the power to recognize, regulate, and fund universal preschool at taxpayer expense.

Money Makes the Non-Profit World Go Around

Several weeks ago, FreedomWorks approached The Mark Johnson Show and VPR’s Switchboard, asking each if they would be interested in doing shows on the topic of Universal Preschool. Both did. Mark Johnson (WDEV, AM1390, 9-11am) hosted an excellent debate between Rep. Tim Jerman (D-Essex) and FreedomWorks-Vermont State Director Rob Roper. VPR (buy your own advertising) did a show, too. Only they didn’t invite anyone who opposes Universal Preschool to participate.

I was annoyed, but didn’t think much of it. Then, a moment of epiphany: The other morning I was listening to VPR when brought-to-you-by “commercials” for the Pew Charitable Trust and the Child Care Fund of VT came on within five minutes of each other – both advocating for Universal Preschool in Vermont!

So much for the commercial free, intellectually unfettered approach to reporting that is supposed to bring pure enlightenment to us all. (And my own idealistic innocence.)

More Media Bias — Apology starts with AP

Does AP in Vermont stand for Associated Press or Always Partisan? Two stories this week shed more light on the notion that Chris Graff and his merry band of scribblers are really just a collection of shills and hit men for a left wing agenda.

The November 3 story by Ross Sneyd is titled, Vermont Democrats falsely lambaste governor, apologize. Why? What happened? The democrats accused the Douglas administration of hiring a firm, DCI Group, with ties to Tom Delay and an election dirty tricks scandal in New Hampshire in a press release titled, “Douglas Imports Culture of Corruption….” Here’s the problem: The democrats got their companies wrong. The administration actually hired Development Counsellors International. Same initials, but totally different outfit. Oops. Little mistake. Could happen to anybody. As easy as mixing up Julia Roberts with Jason Robards.

To some degree the Democrats can be forgiven. They’re supposed to be partisan, and they did, in part, apologize for their stupid mistake.

But where is AP’s apology, not only to the Douglas Administration but to all of their readers throughout the state of Vermont? They should be sorry and embarrassed for swallowing a Democrat issued press release – hook, line, and sinker, entirely at its word — and printing it as news with no apparent interest in first checking the facts. Surely even a lackluster attempt by AP’s crack reporters would have revealed the discrepancy and killed the non-story. But that didn’t happen.

Are they incompetent? Incapable of asking questions and engaging in basic fact finding? This brings us to our second AP story….

This one titled, Douglas hasn’t always frowned on early campaign start. After Democrat Scudder Parker kicked off his campaign for governor 53 weeks before the election the governor was asked about the event. He answered, “Vermonters don’t want to hear about the next election now. It’s less than 10 months into my new term. There will be plenty of time for politics next year.”

Well! Can’t let that off-handed statement just sit there! AP reporter David Gram (You might remember, the same guy who did absolutely no background checking into the infamous Vermont Sugarmaker story) went nuts on Google.

Gram wrote, “Although Douglas didn’t formally kick off his campaign until May of 2002 [which is what Parker did, and what Douglas was commenting on], news stories show he was campaigning for the job as of January 2001, two months after the 2000 election….” Then Gram goes on to cite seven separate apples-to-oranges instances that he thinks illustrate Douglas is an earlier campaigner than Parker.

Draw your own conclusions in the Douglas/Parker comparison. But in regard to AP’s evenhandedness in covering both sides of an issue, it’s pretty clear that they can research the heck out of a story – when they feel like it. The evidence continues to show that they only seem to feel like it when if furthers the agenda or provides cover for one side of the debate.

To read Ross Sneyd’s coverage of the Democrat apology (as if AP didn’t do anything wrong) Click Here

Send your comments to: Associated Press.
Chris Graff, Bureau Chief

Notes & Events

Mon. Nov 7, 6:00 pm US Senate Candidate Rich Tarrant will host a meet the candidates Spaghetti dinner at the Stowe Elementary School.

Tues. November 8, 2005, 6 – 8 pm. Chittenden County FreedomWorks Chapter Meeting in Burlington. Call Sate Director, Rob Roper for details 802-999-8145.

Please Contact:
Your likeminded friends and neighbors. Forward them this edition of the Vermont Report, and encourage them to join FredomWorks’ growing email list by signing up at or by contacting State Director, Rob Roper directly at or 802-999-8145. Feedback welcome!