Even if I knew nothing about how to improve education, I can think of three good reasons to oppose the school consolidation plan now before the Legislature:
1. Voluntary efforts to consolidate schools have been repeatedly rejected because no one has seen sufficient benefit.
2. The only clear benefit of the plan is it will be more convenient for superintendents. No one can agree on whether it will help or harm actual education.
3. Many who support it, including Gov. Shumlin, suddenly start talking about saving money on property taxes when no study says it will. When politicians need to appeal to outright falsehoods to promote their bill, it isn’t hard to conclude there aren’t any good reasons.
Knowing a little about education in the state makes it look even worse. Anyone who thinks it won’t result in closures of small schools is either stupid or lying. Do you really think three big towns are going to vote to fork over a lot of money to have a tiny school in a tiny town?
This plan is lacking good Vermont sense. This is politics at its worst: a plan to make politicians look good by pretending to address a problem (and thus avoiding it), a plan to centralize power, a plan to replace the personal relationships that make our communities, our schools, and the learning of our children work with big systems and bureaucracy. I am astonished and distressed it has gotten so far. I am begging our Legislature to please, once and for all, kill this consolidation idea that our governor is determined to ram down our throats despite its repeated rejection.
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