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State should focus on academics

Two recent items would seem to suggest that the Vermont educational establishment has drifted considerably from what parents would consider its primary responsibility—educating their children.

In 2020, Gov. Phil Scott signed into law a bill that states, “Each school district shall make condoms available to all students in its secondary schools, free of charge.” Further, “A mandated reporter [school employee] . . . shall not be deemed to have violated the requirements of this section [mandating parental notification] solely on the basis of making condoms available to a secondary school student in accordance with 16 V.S.A. section 132.” In plain English, schools must provide condoms to children in grades 7 through 12 and there is no need to notify parents.

More recently, the Vermont Agency of Education released the 2021 Statewide Assessment Results. Those results reveal that for grades 7 through 9, only 53 percent of Vermont students tested proficient in English, a mere 32 percent of students tested proficient in math, and 39 percent tested proficient in science (assessed in 8th and 11th grade).

Perhaps the state could spend more time focused on teaching our children to read, write, do math, and perform science, and less time focused on facilitating sexual activity among minors.

Brian Vogel

Manchester

Solar projects shouldn’t harm communities

The Manchester Journal is to be commended for publishing the unending views of the business community at every opportunity. The latest one by Peter Sterling, hired as a spokesperson/lobbyist for the private business developer group Renewable Energy Vermont, is particularly instructive.

Rather than lauding the decision of the state Public Utilities Commission against the proposed industrial solar development in a mixed use residential site on Richville Road as a victory for the protection of a residential community and the natural environment, Sterling sarcastically derides the factual basis for the decision. If “approximately ten residences” (the actual number is surely higher) don’t matter, let’s take Sterling’s lobbying seriously. Let’s choose 10 of the biggest CEOs of his business group, and site the next 10 solar industrial sites directly facing or abutting each of their private residences.

Martin White

Salem N.Y

Litter attracts litter

Over the past two years we have observed a dramatic increase in trash littering our roadsides and country walks, despite that this is an illegal activity with fines.

Can our educators starting in preschool teach that trash should be disposed of in containers provided or taken home?

Should there be a monthly school student litter pick-up day to help local communities stay clean?

Will we need two Green Up days to cover more roads?

Can residents and visitors help by picking up litter when observed?

There was a time that I told family visitors that they would not see roadside trash in Vermont.

Let’s raise awareness and take action.

Anthony MacLaurin

Manchester


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