2-27-14 – William Mathis PhD on “Democracy”

by John McClaughry

William Mathis is the former Rutland Northeast superintendent and now a Shumlin appointee to the State Board of Education. He is also an articulate and dedicated opponent of parental choice and a strong defender of ever more money for the public school system, which citizens should stop interfering with so the education professionals can deliver education to the children in the correct way.

Last week Mathis testified before the House Education Committee to explain why the State Board of Education voted unanimously to recommend legislation to prevent school districts from closing public schools and tuitioning their children to the independent schools that their parents prefer.

His one-word defense of this recommendation was “democracy”. In other words, a democratically elected school board, with the democratic approval of the district voters, cannot democratically make the decision that the people of North Bennington democratically made three times, to close the village school and lease the building to a newly created independent school.

The term “torturing the English language” is not strong enough to describe this absurd characterization. What Mathis is really saying is that the legislature must stamp out democracy wherever it threatens to end the public school monopoly, thus giving choice to parents and threatening the tranquility and paychecks of the education bureaucrats and teachers union members.

The sad irony is that a legislature controlled by self-styled “Democrats” may well stamp out school district democracy to protect their own political interests – unless they are democratically reproved by citizens and parents who actually do believe in local democracy.

John McClaughry is the founder and current vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

bruce buxton February 28, 2014 at 7:28 pm

The phrase you are looking for John is “pious fraud”. It is characteristic of pension driven reform and the narrow grasping distortions favored by union bureaucrats and school superintendents to explain away their destruction of the democratic opportunities our public schools once offered Americans like Harry Truman.

Reply

Sandy Gregg February 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm

The two factors that would best challenge Vermont’s failed funding system, Act 60 & 68, are 1. School choice, and 2. Technology. These two factors resolve the lack of access to equal opportunities for the children of Vermont that The Brigham Decision demands. If we oppose school choice as Mr. Mathis suggests we will continue on with a failed funding system with no ability to ever address what will become a failed education system. Furthermore, it is an atrocity to use democracy as a means to destroy democracy. It is easy to see through that argument.
I concude that the state board of education should be democratically elected and not appointed to fill an agenda.

Reply

Sandy Gregg February 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm

The two factors that would best challenge Vermont’s failed funding system, Act 60 & 68, are 1. School choice, and 2. Technology. These two factors resolve the lack of access to equal opportunities for the children of Vermont that The Brigham Decision demands. If we oppose school choice as Mr. Mathis suggests we will continue on with a failed funding system with no ability to ever address what will become a failed education system. Furthermore, it is an atrocity to use democracy as a means to destroy democracy. It is easy to see through that argument.
I conclude that the state board of education should be democratically elected and not appointed to fill an agenda.

Reply

Paul Poulos February 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Ridiculous. The following states the whole truth:

“The term “torturing the English language” is not strong enough to describe this absurd characterization. What Mathis is really saying is that the legislature must stamp out democracy wherever it threatens to end the public school monopoly, thus giving choice to parents and threatening the tranquility and paychecks of the education bureaucrats and teachers union members.”

Control of our local schools by local citizens has been proven in the past the right way to go. I think that the citizens of North Bennington showed what democracy really is.

Reply

Gary Richardson February 28, 2014 at 11:00 pm

What I just thought about when I saw the Mathis name pop up was Act 60. When I was in the Vermont House during these Act 60 days I was amazed to find the ignorance and arrogance of those times repeated today. Nothing has changed. This generation of parents and their children will have to get through this period and hope that the Legislature has to be changed. We have to change the Mathis’s of then with the fresh thinking.of now.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
Read more...

Latest News

VT Left Wing Media Bias Unmasks Itself

July 24, 2020 By Rob Roper Dave Gram was a long time reporter for the Associated Press, is currently the host of what’s billed on WDEV as a...

Using Guns for Self Defense – 3 Recent Examples

July 24, 2020 By John McClaughry  The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal last week published eleven news stories about citizens using a firearm to stop a crime. Here are...

FERC ruling on solar subsidies could help Vermont ratepayers

July 21, 2020 By John McClaughry Last Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finalized its updates to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), in what the majority...

The Moderate Left’s Stand for Free Speech

July 17, 2020 By David Flemming Harper’s Magazine, a long-running monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts, is hardly what you would call a ‘politically...

Trump’s Regulatory Bill of Rights

July 16, 2020 by John McClaughry “President Trump [last May] issued an executive order entitled  ‘Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.’ The executive order includes a regulatory bill...

Video