Statewide School Choice an Imperative as Schools Push Political Agenda

August 12, 2019

by Rob Roper

For the past year or two, Vermont public schools have become increasingly, overtly political in the indoctrination of students to a political agenda. We have seen several examples of students walking out of class to protest climate change, gun control, and “social justice” issues, often if not always with the encouragement of the faculty and administrations.

Back in May, True North Reports put out a story, Vermont Youth Lobby using taxpayer assets to carry out student activism, chronicling how Harwood Union assets were improperly used in connection with a climate march on Montpelier.

On May 3, the group’s Join Us page read had a sign-up form that read at the bottom, “This form was created inside of” The domain name is the website of the Harwood Unified Union School District….

Since WWSU is a school district, and therefore a taxpayer asset, the use of the internet system makes it appear that the state is supporting the activism of the Youth Lobby….

Also appearing on the Youth Lobby’s Join Us page is the group’s contact phone number. On a different page for the group’s “third planning meeting” in spring of 2016, that same number is listed as the number for Matt Henchen, an “adult mentor” to the group whose email address is listed as a address — another taxpayer asset

On August 1, the Brattleboro Reformer reported:

Kurt Daims of Brattleboro has been pushing for the issue of climate change to be discussed during every Windham Southeast School District meeting.

“That’s the way that recognizes the feeling of emergency I think many people in the public have,” he told the school board last week, “so that they can be assured that like national security during a wartime, which the climate crisis approaches, it’s always on the agenda for them to address.”

A nonbinding resolution to include agenda items on climate change at every meeting had been proposed by Daims and approved at the annual school district last month. His motion was amended to also direct the board to make decisions with an eye toward economic, social and racial justice.

Last Wednesday, the Windham Southeast School District Board of Directors approved a motion to establish a policy that would create a climate change council to advise on sustainability issues….

This isn’t an educational mission; it is political indoctrination.

If schools want to have a political mission, that’s potentially fine. But only if the parents of children are okay with it, and, if they are not, have the option of sending their kids somewhere else. Somewhere that reflects their own values as opposed to those of these left-wing ideologues. Or maybe even a school that focuses on reading, writing, arithmetic, and teaching kids how to think, not what to think.

Rebecca Holcombe, former Education Secretary and, so far, the only Democrat to enter the 2020 gubernatorial race, launched her campaign accusing Governor Scott of pushing a statewide school choice program. He hasn’t, but in light of what’s going on in our public schools, maybe he should.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol R Frenier August 12, 2019 at 7:02 pm

Great article, Rob. Right on the money. We need to repeatedly refer to the public schools as what they are: government monopoly schools which are driven by the liberal/progressive agenda. No school system is without its point of view.


Mary Daly August 13, 2019 at 11:21 am

Thanks Rob for bringing all this into the light. It is way past time to take a hard look at what is being taught and as important, what is not being taught. Many Republicans hide their conservative ideals. Me on the other hand like to emphasize my Republicanism. For instance, I bought a Trump – Keep America Great hat and it is now my golf hat. We need to stand out and confront these terrible ideals before it’s too late. My thanks to to you and the Ethan Allen Institute for doing just that.


David m Lawyer August 13, 2019 at 11:41 am

I could not agree more with this article. My tax dollars are not being paid out to give schools to force their political stances on my impressionable chlidrens minds. Nor should my tax dollars be employed to use school buses to transport these kids to the state house to protest climate change.


Pat Finnie August 17, 2019 at 2:28 pm

It was a long time ago, but back when I was in school if anybody offered me an opportunity to go on a field trip and get out of classes for the day, I’d have said “where do I sign up!.” I also wonder if a field trip for those with differing opinions was offered ? Never mind, that was a stupid expectation………….


William Hays August 18, 2019 at 11:34 pm

While in Junior High School (1952), my class got a day out of school to visit the GM Chevrolet/Fisher Body plant in Tarrytown, NY. I must say that I learned a lot: I have never bought a “Jimmy Junk” product in my long life. Maybe trips to Mountpeculiar will keep kids from getting involved in mindless political careers.


Guy page August 13, 2019 at 11:40 pm

And don’t forget H1 – law passed this year creating state social justice commission reviewing every school for signs of systemic racism, sexism etc etc.


Pat Finnie August 16, 2019 at 10:17 pm

The liberal bias in education is nothing new. As an unyielding supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and an avid supporter of traditional outdoors sports I have been “preaching”, if you will, about the crapulosity being spewed in public schools in regards to these two interests of mine for many years. I have told parents that have told me of their children being indoctrinated by liberal teachers that they as parents should go to their school, and complain. Let the administrators and teachers hear that there are some things that should be left to the parents to teach their children, and politics is out of bounds. No ifs, No ands, No buts ! Stay out of my house. Teach math, teach science, teach language, teach history, teach facts, not politics.


William Hays August 17, 2019 at 4:48 am

“Crapulosity”? That is a new word, to me. Love it! Definitive of the “Progressivtitutes”.


Pat Finnie August 17, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Crapulosity, A term used by an old disc jockey by the name of Bob Bannon at WSKI in Montpelier. It is pretty much self explanatory, and when speaking towards the left leaning doctrine, “fits” all too often.


Mike August 18, 2019 at 12:41 pm

While many feel that climate change is a debatable issue, not sure tax payers assets should be available to misguided well meaning kids. If they are truly passionate about climate change let them use their idle hours generating whatever resources needed to make their position be known. Just might be a worth while learning experience. If you want something badly enough, go out and earn it.


William Hays August 18, 2019 at 11:38 pm

“Bad idea”, says the lefties. Studying “climate change” will only reveal what a “crapulous” mantra of the loons that it is.


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