When you consider that there are only some 315,000 voters in this state, 90,000 isn't a bloc skillful pols want to anger by proposing to dis-employ and sidewalk even a few of their number, even as enrollments decline because working-age families are out-migrating and taking their school-age kids with them.
Case in Point 2:
The curtains are pulled to conceal the same voter-analysis calculus, pushing to add a couple of pre-K grades to the present 13.
For 40 years its been well-known that Head-Start type programs have not, despite massive spending, been able to demonstrate any lasting gains in math and reading, (the 4th and 8th and 11th test scores for which are uniformly dismal) but you're supposed to pay no attention and believe that they do.
Most recently a study of day care impacts on pre-schoolers came to the same conclusion, but it doesnt matter, because whats behind the curtain is an unspoken agenda of expanding enrollment so as to expand teacher staffing so as to expand the rolls of sympathetic, pro-spending voters. In Case One, the objective was to accomplish nothing; in Case Two, it was to accomplish something. Both, apparently, are showing success.
Case in Point 3:
The supposed elite consensus on Vermonts economic future is down with Wal-Mart, Omya, International Paper, big grocery distributors, and modern agriculture, and up with an Information Technology (I.T.) alternative. You hear lots about a 21st Century e-Vermont from the guv in Montpelier, the higher-education (pro-scholarships, of course) educators in Burlington, and of course the environmentalists in the other 249 towns.
Growing and making things here is out; moving information around is, or should be, in. So you're supposed to pay no attention when local anti-everything activists come out again and again to derail an essential of that future: cell-phone tower construction. Its happening, once again, this time in Killington. In that Vermont town local activists explained that they're not opposed to all towers, just this one, in this place, at this time. Even making the tower look like a tree from a distance apparently doesn't help.
Of course, its easy to be anti-business when your personal paycheck comes in from pension or trust funds, even though those of lower socio-economic status folks dont enjoy such luxury And, of course, cell-tower prevention keeps a possible I.T. entrepreneur from building a house next to yours, where it might actually beughvisible.
Vermont observer Martin Harris lives in Tennessee.