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My school bus was a Schwinn

The same public education spending defenders who can't (won't?) grasp that Wyoming is 10 times larger geographically than Vermont similarly can't (won't?) grasp that, contrary to their pious child-safety protestations, American roads are almost four times safer now than they were for vehicles, and presumably, bikes.

Available data from the feds show 1957 highway deaths at 5.98 per 100,000 miles; 1997 deaths were down to 1.64. A non-measurable variable, comparing then to now: what about all these costly bike paths and bike bridges Vermont taxpayers have been pouring money into? Are they purely for the imported water bottle-on-hip recreational class, and off-limits to the coaster-brake lower-SES level of cyclists with books in the basket and an actual useful destination in mind?

Like Illinois Rep. (and Sen.) Ev Dirksen, who famously appreciated that money is scaleable ("a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're into real money"), I readily concede that $23 million ain't much out of a $1.2 billion public education budget. (as the mathematically-proficient ed commissioner has proven, it's 2 percent (don't test 59 percent of your eighth graders on this long division/percentage exercise; they'll score as non-proficient, per 2008 NDES, Table 131) but even at a mere 2 percent it's a marker of sorts, a line in the sand to be crossed (frugal Vermonters, both remaining examples) or defended (educational paycheck receivers, multitudes).

Is it a violation of the Eighth Amendment for school kids to bicycle to school? Or would it be verboten to cut a few bus drivers for the same pro-budget vote calculus that forbids cutting a few teachers by raising class sizes modestly?

Parenthetically, I'd ask, is it the same calculus as lies concealed behind the push for universal pre-K, which would add both staffing costs and the votes to help push the staff expansion through? I'm 'jes askin'; if it discomfits (a little archaic Middle English lingo, there) you, consider it a rhetorical inquiry only.

Retired Vermont architect Martin Harris observes Green Mountain State politics from a safe distance-Tennessee.

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