February 24th, 2011

Sticking It To The Man: VDB Makes Maiden Senate Speech, In Support of Resolution Condemning No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

by Philip Baruth

Spoke for the first time on the Senate floor today, right around the halfway point in the session. The occasion? Introducing and making the argument for a Joint Resolution condemning No Child Left Behind. And the language of that Resolution did not play patty-cake.

One of the key Wherases: “Whereas, many Vermont schools are forced to choose between losing highly qualified and effective principals and teachers or reject substantial funding, due to punitive sanctions for their failure to make adequate yearly progress under NCLB,” and of course there was more but you get the picture.

Was a school board member myself until very recently, and actually had to vote to let one of those very, very highly qualified folks go, or lose $3 million in Federal funds. One of the hardest decisions we made that year, and that principal’s position at Burlington’s Integrated Arts Academy is still unfilled.

Which would seem to, you know, leave children behind.

And that was just one of the reasons that this particular speech felt, in some small and fleeting way, like sticking it to the Man.

This one’s for you, Integrated Arts folk. You go. And for the record, the Joint Resolution passed on a unanimous voice vote. Which leads to the rule of thumb: if you want to sail through your first floor report, either support the flag or condemn No Child Left Behind.

Or ideally both.