Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rep. Jim Masland, of Thetford Center, a Democrat who represents the Windsor-Orange 2 district in the Vermont House of Representatives.
To the State Board of Education:
Throughout Vermont’s history, our economy has transformed itself numerous times. From potash to timber, from sheep to marble and granite, from machine tools and copper to maple sugar and dairy, and to computer chips, composites and aerospace manufacturing. While the means of earning a living and building Vermont’s economy have changed, what has remained integral to who we are as Vermonters has been our deep sense of community.
As employment becomes more and more urban based, small towns are under assault from market forces beyond their control. That does not diminish, however, Vermonters commitment to each other within the towns in which they live and raise their families. You must recognize that the school is almost always the locus from which community involvement and participation grows. Vermonters’ allegiance to their schools is not just about community control and resistance to outside directives. It is about maintaining community resilience and cohesion without which townships will slowly fade away.