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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: Education

Re: “Hard Lesson: A UVM Econ Prof Fights to Keep His Job

Molly Walsh's otherwise good reporting here failed to quote the findings of the UVM's Faculty Standards Committee (FSC), which reviewed the evidence and the behavior of the Chair of the Department of Economics following the vote against my reappointment. Ms. Walsh had the following information yet only mentioned the committee's unanimous vote in my favor. The FSC wrote the following and sent it to the Dean:

Dr. Summa "has met the standard for reappointment based on his record of teaching a wide range of courses, including developing curricula for the Honors College, and from the satisfactory student evaluations scores he has received."

Other favorable comments were included in their evaluation yet Ms. Walsh did not include them and instead quoted negative comments made by the Dean and Chair.

Furthermore, later one of the members of the FSC, made up of distinguished, veteran professors who review many Chairs and their conduct, came forward to say "the entire committee believes the Chair was out to get" me. This whistleblower confirmed what many already believed. This fact was entered into evidence at the Labor Board, which chose to ignore it.

Finally, a former UVM official wrote to me and told me after reviewing the facts of my case that I had "clearly" been given a "prejudicial" review by the Chair and Dean and that I had been "targeted" for removal by the Department of Economics and that the Dean "took the side" of the Chair.

Unfortunately, SevenDays has yet to investigate any of these facts despite repeated requests. Ms. Walsh thus gets a C+ for her overall reporting. Hopefully she will do better in the future.

Posted by John Summa on 02/19/2019 at 8:52 AM

Re: “STEM Sell: New UVM Dean Linda Schadler Makes a Case for Science and Engineering

Good luck to Dean Schadler . She will face serious blow back from the entitled academics who are furious that their departments face funding cuts due to declining enrollments . Alexander, the union leader & English prof is illustrative of why UVM's reputation has declined over the years. Sadly it's an institution whose primary goal is diversity and political correctness instead of academic excellence .

7 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Rich ard on 01/31/2019 at 10:05 PM

Re: “Pay What? Vermont's $9.2 Million Childcare Crisis

"The MAJORITY of us working in this field are highly trained, early education professionals and would like to be viewed as such by our communities and government."

Which might have something to do with why it is so expensive.

Posted by Justin Boland on 01/25/2019 at 12:14 PM

Re: “Tenuous Tenure: Fewer Profs at Vermont Colleges Enjoy the Status

The issue is not whether some tenured professors were good or bad teachers, or whether tenure is generally a good idea. What happened at Vermont Law School is problematic because faculty, both tenured and those with long-term contracts, had a right to rely on certain procedures that should have been followed before they were terminated. That is partly what is guaranteed under tenure. And while the article may not make this clear, most of the tenured faculty were in effect fired, not just stripped of tenure.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Prof on 12/13/2018 at 5:30 PM

Re: “Tenuous Tenure: Fewer Profs at Vermont Colleges Enjoy the Status

At VLS, there are professors who have been around for 30+ years and whose ideas have not progressed in that time with the world around them. One such professor is quoted in this article. If giving up tenure means VLS is no longer beholden to professors whose ideas are outdated and who are lazy in their teaching then good.

Some of VLS's best professors weren't tenured to begin with.

Molly Walsh failed to ask Professor Teachout how much he made when he did have tenure? While he may not be able to say his current salary, his previous salary is fair game and, my guess, would shed some light on the gross inequity between tenure and non tenure pay, which is another reason to question the current status quo.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by lisamo on 12/13/2018 at 4:05 PM

Re: “Tenuous Tenure: Fewer Profs at Vermont Colleges Enjoy the Status

LOL - The one professor who dares to speak up is best friends with the Dean. Speech effectively chilled at Vermont Law School. Good luck trying to maintain a national ranking when you're a pariah amongst law schools.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Jenner on 12/12/2018 at 9:01 PM

Re: “Tenuous Tenure: Fewer Profs at Vermont Colleges Enjoy the Status

Shame on the law school trustees! Fiduciary Duties? -- you don't know which professors were fired in a deal you approved to save your school?

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Jenner on 12/12/2018 at 8:51 PM

Re: “No Magic Formula: Education Finance Reform Falters

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0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mildred Lankford on 12/12/2018 at 4:37 AM

Re: “A Cluster of Northeast Kingdom Towns Copes with Consolidation

I'd like to thank Seven Days for stepping out of its normal comfort zone to closely examine what is happening to life in rural Vermont.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Joe Benning on 12/05/2018 at 2:51 PM

Re: “Adult English Language Learners Get Digital Education

Hi Kymelya,
Thanks for a very interesting article. It's great to see the new arrivals in Vermont have the tools and support they need to learn English and become part of the community.
Did you know that some of the leading apps for learning languages are designed right here in Burlington? Vidalingua apps have helped over 12 million people learn English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese and Japanese. You can download them for free at
Best, Marc

Posted by Marc Bolh on 11/27/2018 at 6:53 AM

Re: “Last Stand: Vermont School Districts Vow to Fight Forced Mergers

Theyre waaaay past merging half-empty schools! They are now trying to merge high performing, low spending schools that have increasing enrollment trends. Some of these beautiful and flourishing schools like Montgomery, receive very little funding from the State on average. We should in-fact be used as models for academic success not bullied, coerced and oppressed into conformity with NO proof of economic savings or better academic opportunities.
These towns have had legallly warned votes, spend a GREAT DEAL more time and energy evaluating financial advantages than the State Board of Education has. Ive personally watched the SBE push through actions with little or NO research base evidence that negatively effect our rural familys and more importantly the innocent children they should be trying to protect. The parents, school board members and volunteers fighting to protect children and democracy are highly educated and see this legislations intent but realize the door for corruption and control has gone beyond the goals. Several of our legislators who created and voted for this bill are unhappy with its execution. The harm to our children as a result, especially in towns that strongly oppose merger with legally warned votes, should be their responsibility as well.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Karie Quintin on 11/10/2018 at 9:39 AM

Re: “Last Stand: Vermont School Districts Vow to Fight Forced Mergers

Penelope, with all do respect I hear your concerns, well noted.

Points I would like to bring to your attention:

Fact: I know a child who was killed while traveling to get to school. Nothing more needs to be said.

Recent events in the news, should be a concern to everyone. Motorists and school buses.

A study was conducted, most of schools infastruction er systems are out of date and need to be revamped.
Who knows how much this will cost taxpayers to make these changes to bring these schools up to the 20th century and code. I wonder if you would still complain about your taxes $ then? As this was being "look into".

Ask anyone who is thinking about moving here what they like about our state? Most likely their response would be, they like the people, small towns and small schools. We will not attract young families to move here if the schools are closed down.

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by genesis_44 on 11/08/2018 at 5:29 PM

Re: “Last Stand: Vermont School Districts Vow to Fight Forced Mergers

If a school opposes consolidation, fine. As long as it withdraws from state funding. Governor Scott is a hero for taking on this issue and taking on the notorious NEA. It makes no fiscal sense to keep paying for so many half-empty buildings to educate fewer and fewer students each year.

You can fight consolidation, but there are a far greater number of taxpayers who are sick and tired of paying and who will fight you right back. Fiscal responsibility matters.

8 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Penelope on 11/08/2018 at 4:13 PM

Re: “Last Stand: Vermont School Districts Vow to Fight Forced Mergers

Please take into consideration how these mergers may affect the students, parents, teachers and communities. Many students have a lot of school pride and have attended these schools since they were in Pre-K. The schools also serve as a host for community events.

Some districts do not offer bussing, for this reason, another demographic challenge. Weather conditions (warranted), a factor which needs be taken into consideration prior to the decisions being made.

Especially with the winter season approaching as school delays/closures/early release approach. Not all families are dual households. Merging these schools may become a challenge for those who work the typical 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. In addition, accruing transportation and vehicle expenses to travel to a different district. Those who are being told, they need to merge. If bussing is available that would ideal but most likely, not an option. (Shortage of Drivers).

At one point there was a discussion of the possibly changing the hour of the school day. Please take the students into consideration. From the time when their typical school day starts, add travel, their actual school day, after school activities/events/functions and then their homework. These students already have a full day.

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by genesis_44 on 11/07/2018 at 12:24 PM

Re: “Vermont Schools Implement 'Best Practices' for Transgender Equity

Science is real. Each of us, except if there is a mutation, is born with chromosomes and genitalia indicating our sex. To say this isn't so is not "hateful," it is a fact. "Transgender" is akin to religiosity and fantasy--in layman's terms, "NUTS." What you really have here are people with serious psychological problems. The fact that the majority has stood silent for fear of being labeled "hateful" or "transphobic" or whatever other silly moniker the Left comes up with is the more serious issue. But, from the looks of the polls today, all indications are that the "quiet Vermonter" is not quite as so-called "progressive" as this article (or the defensive commenter who thinks people who object to facts are "bigots") would like to believe.

Posted by oldvermonter on 10/23/2018 at 6:06 PM

Re: “#HerToo: Middlebury Student in Trouble Over List of Accused Sexual Transgressors

This POS deserves to be in jail. I hope the victims of her libelous list sue her into the poor house. All 36 should take her to small claims at the same time, that would be beautiful karma.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mrinspctrman on 10/05/2018 at 1:44 PM

Re: “As Controversies Swirl, What’s Next for Burlington Schools’ Beleaguered Superintendent?

I can tell you I was a BHS graduate although in that day, Williston, had no High School. I can tell you the miserable time I had as a student even being suicidal. I saw a teacher slap the face of a 15 year old student with impunity. I suffered two years in Geometry with a man who was really not a teacher and my grades both years F.
I saw a teacher actually throw a boy down a flight of stairs. I saw little in the way of disciplining any teacher and certainly not one in guidance. I look back now in disgust at the education I did NOT receive at BHS. And yes, I recall the mindless support for US in Viet Nam where to recruit boys (not girls), a military recruiter said any boy who would not serve HIS country was a coward and yes a Homosexual. Folks in that day that what BHS was and worse. Not time or any desire to rethink 1960-1964.
So, now when I see huge salaries to everybody including 100 grand to a food service director and 200 grand to a superintendent that was imported more than likely because of his skin color, I have to ask, folks its all the same just 50 plus years later and maybe the bathrooms are cleaner?

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Johanthan Edwards on 10/02/2018 at 8:33 AM

Re: “As Controversies Swirl, What’s Next for Burlington Schools’ Beleaguered Superintendent?

1) It stated with removing Mellencamp as BHS principal. It was vindictive.
2) Next came new hires principals that were no longer vetted by student/staff/teacher/community member groups during the hiring process.
3) Obeng hired Macias and after a year, ignored the resignations of almost of the guidance dept and the school board only allowed each 2 minutes to say why they were leaving.
4) OBeng stopped the exit interview process for departing teachers and staff.
5) Obeng hires Ranacot who was initially lost managing the high school and when Ranicot tried to discipline Macias for stalking a substitute teacher, Obeng reduced it to to a letter in Macias' file.
6) After a 20 year relationship between UVM guidance program and BHS< UVM pulled the plug due to Macias and unprofessional conduct.
7) The DOE -- the same agency that seldom to never investigates schools unless begged....believed there were violations sufficient to investigate and when the school board did not.
8) Central office is overloaded with former principals Some good, some incompetent.
9) Obeng supports Green in violating Vt law when Green censored the BHS registry.
10 the Obeng-Macias conspiracy is exposed and THANK GOD--the new school board moves to immediately suspend Macias when he should have been dismissed 18 months ago.
11) data is showing we poorer performance than 3 years ago.
11) Time for the school board to advertise search for a new superintendent.

31 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tom Johnson on 09/27/2018 at 4:53 PM

Re: “As Controversies Swirl, What’s Next for Burlington Schools’ Beleaguered Superintendent?

How does superintendent turnover in Burlington compare to South Burlington, Essex or Chittenden South school districts?

16 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Herman Planten on 09/27/2018 at 11:39 AM

Re: “As Controversies Swirl, What’s Next for Burlington Schools’ Beleaguered Superintendent?

I'm not seeing scores of folks rushing to Obeng's defense here.

After all the special treatment, accommodations, and special exemptions to hire Obeng this arrangement appears to have not been worth all of the efforts and contortions to make it happen.

It appears that not only Mr. Obeng should be replaced but also the school board.

32 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by NorthOldEnder on 09/27/2018 at 11:09 AM

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