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Comment Archives: stories: News + Opinion: Education

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

It's incouraging that school board chair Petell recognizes the benefits of School Choice Tuitioning. Given the Vermont Superior Courts recent ruling in Athens v. State Board of Ed.:

"The power of the state, unrestrained by the contract clause or the 14th Amendment, over the rights and property of cities held and used for governmental purposes cannot be questioned. Such property as a municipality holds [for public purposes], in a legal sense, belongs to the state."
Pg. 16

"The Vermont Supreme Court has explicitly held that in Vermont, the obligation to provide a public education is a State, not a local, obligation." Pg. 26

Tuitioning is the only tangible local control remaining for Vermont parents and their communities.

Posted by Jay Eshelman on 06/24/2019 at 7:31 AM

Re: “As Act 46 Deadline Looms, Districts Rush to Finish Their Math Homework

Sounds like Huntington has a week to fire or severely reprimand their principal for insubordination and fostering a hostile work environment before the merger takes effect.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jimmy on 06/21/2019 at 4:52 PM

Re: “The USDA Loaned Millions to Five Vermont Colleges. Two Are Closing.

It greatly bothers me when I agree with any of the Heritage Foundation opinions but they are correct ,"It's not the taxpayers' role to serve as a bailout to small, struggling colleges."

Posted by Rich ard on 05/12/2019 at 9:25 PM

Re: “The USDA Loaned Millions to Five Vermont Colleges. Two Are Closing.

It's about priorities. Education is knowledge is empowering. It's more important than money. If we as taxpayers can bail out banks then we surely can bail out colleges.

3 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by vkarmun on 05/09/2019 at 10:30 PM

Re: “The USDA Loaned Millions to Five Vermont Colleges. Two Are Closing.

If our national priority was to make college education affordable by heavily subsidizing each individual students education, via generous grants and low or no interest loans, the USDA would not have to get involved with loans to the institutions. These Vermont Colleges would have been far more financially accessible to the unique and amazing population of students they served, and would not have had to provide so much in house financial aid. These little colleges have long histories, but very small endowments. Despite the decline of college aged students, Vermont is still a very desirable place to go to school, especially at a place that allows and encourages you to thrive with an individualized education, supported by very caring faculty.

2 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Freedumb Also on 05/09/2019 at 4:22 PM

Re: “Prizewinner Marcelo Gleiser Bridges Science and Spirituality

Excellent article about a very interesting man. I admit that I had not heard of him before this. Thanks for igniting my desire to learn more.

Posted by Ethan Rogati on 05/09/2019 at 1:28 PM

Re: “Superintendent Sean McMannon Is Teaching Winooski About School Spirit

Superintendent seems like a pretty admirable guy. And while the school clearly needs work, it's crazy to ask a city of 7200 residents to approve a bond for $57.8M. They reference Burlington's $70M bond, but their population is over 42k - Winooski's proposed school bond is almost 5x more expensive per capita. School board is trying for the Cadillac version here. Vote no so they can scale back the cost to residents and try again next year.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by onionknight on 05/03/2019 at 10:02 AM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

Markport: who are the unethical criminals?

As I recall you and your cronies cleansed a quarter of the teachers in your last two years on the board.. how does that put students first?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by jhilt123 on 04/19/2019 at 2:28 PM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

jhilt - when Burlington citizens and students come first this will stop. Until then, the unethical criminals you support will just keep existing and continuing with their cleansing. I'm confident you support both actions.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Markport on 04/19/2019 at 12:07 PM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

Markport -

Accusing someone of acting like a third-grader is pretty lame.

Also pathetic: the boohoo about Macias not getting the big office.

Nit-picking tantrums. Woe-is-me. Not very kid focused!

How long does Burlington have to put up with this?!

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by jhilt123 on 04/18/2019 at 9:55 PM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

Chris S. - of course, we stuck by him through the process! You may want to call people guilty without due process but I do not. I'm sure your childish "they're not, but you are" response carries great weight with third graders but in this world, it's important that speculation nor attendance in the University of MSU (make stuff up) is the final word.

Yaw Obeng has owned his decisions from day one. This city needed Superintendent Obeng - someone who wouldn't be intimidated by small groups that HATE the fact they don't run the show from the sidelines. This guy has cleaned up the financial mess you all enjoy right now and put up with the meanness inherent in so many. His wife and kids read the stuff people said as they fought his Visa and criticized the fact that he couldn't find housing in September when he got hired in Burlington but he could in South Burlington. I'm sure they appreciated the knucklehead that asked why we had to go to Ghana to hire a Superintendent and was corrected by one person that it was Canada where he came from.

Now we face a Board who is criminal in their Conflict of Interest. It's very clear in the City Charter that financial rewards to friends or family is against the law, yet this Board, some who are represented by the VT NEA in either retirement or current position and others who have boasted of their friendships with teachers, sees no problem voting on a teacher contract. How long do the citizens of Burlington have to put up with this?

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by Markport on 04/18/2019 at 11:08 AM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals


So we should just overlook the charges brought against Mario Macias by the AOE, charges that were substantiated and led to the revoking of his license, because this happens everyday. We should overlook this because as you state with all your unbiased knowledge that he was bullied. What your saying is we should just overlook the fact that his abilities as a guidance counselor were severely lacking. I am sure the way that he inappropriately spoke and acted toward his female students should be overlooked as well according to you. I as a parent of one of those students speak with knowledge and experience of what the situation truly was. It is time for you to get down off that high horse you have been riding for too many years.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by jburlington on 04/14/2019 at 12:57 PM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

Oh give me a home, where the Colonel once roamed,

And my kid's schools are top notch, they all say.

Where seldom is heard, implicit bias is the scourge,

And other finalists simul-hauled ass yesterday.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by flipflopfly on 04/13/2019 at 12:58 AM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

Parents, the taxpayers, should have the loudest voice in this process. Concealing evaluation and comment forms from public and board view and completely ignoring public sentiment is malfeasance. It's been proven time and again that bringing in outside so-called "leadership", which in this case has produced debacles such as the Machias and Champlain Elementary spectacles due to unilateral decision making, as opposed to encouraging and promoting qualified and consensus-seeking long-time employees from within who actually understand the community and the institution, only promotes distrust and leads to poor staff morale. It's high time to listen to the people, yes, the ones who pay the bills and trust their precious children to the schools!

20 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ralph Firesweep on 04/12/2019 at 3:36 PM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

While no correlated immigration shenanigans (as was case with Obeng and prior school board), other people like Noelle Mackay, Mayor's appointment for Director CEDO, unfortunately followed Obeng's example and also refused to live in Burlington. It does not create good faith for someone making critical decisions about school children or about planning and zoning to exempt themselves and their families from the decisions they make. The residency requirement exists so top decision makers are themselves impacted by decisions they make. And part of community. Burlington voters have considered the shared burden and benefits of living together in the same community important enough that they have not once, but twice rejected prior efforts to eliminate the department head residency requirement.

So what did Mayor & his majority city council do? After Burlington voters twice rejected eliminating residency requirement, Mayor went around voters & "updated" law to claim living anywhere in Chittenden County = living in Burlington. Noelle Mackay, Yaw Obeng, doesn't matter how much melanin someone is born with, just stop gaming the system & voters.

25 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 04/12/2019 at 12:26 PM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

Problem is Superintendent has little credibility with public. He (and prior board) do deserve credit for sorting out messed up financial situation. This is no small thing. However, problem is prior board used legal shenanigans & border-line fraud to game immigration system to hire Superintendent to begin with. So he started under a cloud. City was told he would qualify for Albert Einstein visa because there was no one qualified in existing US population of 325 million. He did not. So then they worked with UVM to create a one-off faculty position (that UVM never advertised nor interviewed any other candidates for) and lied to immigration authorities by saying primary reason Obeng coming to America was to work as UVM faculty. Yeah, 1 class a semester while doing some small side gig called Superintendent of Burlington schools?

On top of all this, Obeng lied to the faces of many Burlington parents during interview process when he told them he would comply with existing Burlington law and of course relocate to live in Burlington. Then, upon receiving and accepting job offer, Mr. Obeng did a U-turn and said, at $153,000 salary, he could not afford Burlington and, in violation of law, only South Burlington (with state's highest paid teachers) would do for his children. That is how to build public confidence?

28 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 04/12/2019 at 12:17 PM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

Markport - That's some misconstrued b.s. You are the bully. Insisting this board has a racist motivation in seeking out highly qualified candidates is absurd. After an admin that you supported had their licensed revoked by the AOE for "incompetence", it's even more important to do a better job hiring qualified leadership. Your credibility on this matter is zero. Thank goodness there are better leaders on the board now.

31 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by jhilt123 on 04/12/2019 at 9:37 AM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

To clarify:

Every Burlington school except Edmunds was looking for a new principal this year (I think this is correct, but am not 100% sure)

BHS, drawing from a limited pool of candidates, had all three finalists drop out the day before a public forum, with no explanation why. This left the superintendent's hand-picked candidate as the only option available.

Parent surveys, requested by the district to provide input on the hiring process, were only made public if they supported the district's views.

These are not opinions, but facts. And they speak loudly.

26 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Dave S on 04/12/2019 at 9:26 AM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

This current board was passed a district in good financial health with a passing audit (contrary to the debacle that was passed to the last board), a plan to bring much-needed early education to the city that went further to free up space for other classes that would be crowded beyond use, a sound and transparent financial picture for the first time in a decade, a Superintendent who knew what he was talking about and took into consideration not only the demands of the union but also the interests and values of the people of Burlington. You want the truth ... ok...

Mario Macias was bullied and maligned by the guidance staff as soon as he got here. Guidance staff moved his office to a much smaller area (you heard that right they moved his designated office space to a much smaller area!). I'm not saying his response to this was correct, but at what point do we seek to better understand the cause? What if he was a kindly middle-aged white man - would we have then looked deeper? Chair Wool is playing the same game by disparaging Superintendent Obeng. What a classy way to rally those who hate having black leadership. Are there no complaints against white staff or leadership in the schools? I'd like to see the Board demand to see every complaint against white leadership and pass judgment on that. ... THAT's never going to happen!

To the Board leadership, you may just get what you asked for. Far fewer leaders of color applying for jobs, more teachers of color will leave, and children of color will fail because the community who voted in this school board simply does not care if children of color succeed or not.

2 likes, 53 dislikes
Posted by Markport on 04/11/2019 at 9:49 PM

Re: “Emails Detail Conflict in Choosing Burlington School Principals

The BTV "new" school board since taking control of a total mess of a district last year March great strides forward include: (1) revising the superintendent/board roles (perhaps the most important and least visible change); (2) dealing with the Obeng/Macias fiasco with Macias losing his guidance license and his job; and (3) completing a first time in years agreement with teachers relieving a continuous conflict between the Obeng administration and professional staffs.). Clearly Obeng himself--particularly in view of the continued disharmony of recent weeks over critical school principalships, a continuous revolving door since his arrival--adds more to the expectation he is a short timer in BTV. The board valiantly struggles to deal with the principals assignments recruited outside the normal timelines and given the fact BTV is scorned by every other educational leader in Vermont as the last place to seek employment, the board must continue to deal with the change process to reverse the recent years course that has seen a slow but steady decline in student performance. The proof is in the pudding. Tony Redington Burlington

30 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Tony Redington on 04/11/2019 at 9:12 AM

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