Letter Box


Give providers a seat at the table

Editor of the Reformer:

The Vermont Senate recently passed a bill that is important to me and to child care providers and families across the state. This bill is important because it would give early educators a voice at the table when decisions are being made that would impact us and the families we serve. The bill is S.316, and it would give home-based child care providers the right to decide whether or not to form a union and if we do, the right to negotiate with the state about how we get paid to care for children in low-income families. This bill does not automatically form a union. Early educators will democratically decide whether they want a union or not, and if so, whether or not they want Vermont Early Educators United to represent us.

As early educators, we are very connected to children and parents, and are experts in the needs of low-income, working families. Providing us a seat at the table when policies are being discussed will benefit both the state and the families we serve. The child care and early education we provide allows low-income parents -- mostly single moms with children -- to go to work or school and improve their financial situations, often working their way off of welfare benefits. Also every child has the right to quality affordable early education and care and forming a union will help to ensure this right is granted to all Vermont children.

I’ve been involved with Vermont Early Educators United for the past four years. During that time, I’ve met other child care providers and have learned new skills from talking with them and also from attending professional development opportunities provided by VEEU. I have also gotten support to participate in STARs and I am now a three STAR provider. I have also learned how to work with other early educators, to talk with legislators about policies that affect the families I work for, and I am proud that I am making a difference for the children and families I care for.

It has been a long four years waiting for the right to choose to form a union. I sincerely hope our legislators will pass S.316 soon. We should have this choice. I know that if Vermont gives us this right, all Vermont children will have better access to quality child care, improved services and increased reimbursement rates because we will have our voices heard.

Judy Rosner,

Vernon, March 25

Crochetta responds

Editor of the Reformer:

Several readers recently wrote to strongly counter my opinion in my recent letter ("On religion, gender," March 4). Their defense of Christianity was unequivocal. Yet, whatever glowing view of their ecumenical sense of religion and Christianity is, the holocaust of women is one of the deep-seated self-evident truths of the profound menace of patriarchy itself.

It would be illogical, therefore, for me to single-out Christianity for crimes against women. Over the long view, one monotheistic male-driven religion is just as culpable as the other. I am, in fact, one of the few people I know of who describes and discusses the Jews, Christians and Muslims as being fundamentally "one" patriarchal religious ship-of-state. It would not occur to me to give a negative or positive review to one of the three self-same religions, or a particular prophet, and neither would I give one special attention over the other by doing so.

Vidda Crochetta,

Brattleboro, March 25

The stuff you
buy ...

Editor of the Reformer:

Note to fellow consumers: If you prefer autocracy to democracy, and you’d love to put your dollars into the pockets of the Koch brothers so they can continue trying (and succeeding, in too many cases) to buy our government, then keep purchasing the following products from corporations owned by Koch Industries.

Georgia Pacific makes Brawny, Angel Soft, Mardi Gras, Quilted Northern, Dixie, Sparkle, So-Dri, Vanity Fair, Soft ‘n Gentle, and GP office paper. They also make plywood and oriented strand board (both can be had in "green certified" versions, by the way, while the Kochs continue to fight against pollution controls), insulation, and drywall, to name just a few of their many building products. Invista makes fibers such as Comforel, Coolmax, Dacron, Lycra, and Stainmaster carpet are among them. These lists came from the company websites; check them out for more products and brand names.

I wonder if the burger I didn’t buy today at Shaw’s came from one of the brothers’ massive cattle ranches? Tried to research that one and didn’t get far. I did learn that their Matador Ranch in Texas was recognized by the Environmental Stewardship Award Program, sponsored, among others, by (guess who?) Dow AgroSciences and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Just one more reason on the "think globally, act locally" list not to buy supermarket beef.

There are lots of things we can’t do about the Kochs, but at least we don’t have to pay them at the grocery store and the lumberyard. Right on, Harry Reid.

Sara Clay,

Wilmington, March 26

Anti-religious bias

Editor of the Reformer:

I was disappointed to read the article titled "Religious school ‘dual enrollment’ money rejected" (March 26).

Although I am retired, I still pay taxes to educate the young people in our state, and it seems both unfair and unreasonable that an entire segment of that group should be deemed ineligible for a program made available to others.

The article states that some of our legislators claim that providing funding to religious school students would amount to unconstitutional support for religion. It strikes me that by failing to allow these students to participate in a statewide program, they are failing to support the students, not the institution they attend. Why should any student be deemed ineligible because of their (or their parents) religious values? The claim that this amounts to an unconstitutional support of religion is patently false and shame on any legislator who used it as an excuse. Our neighbor to the south (Massachusetts) has had a dual enrollment program since 1993, and all students (including those from religious schools) are eligible to participate.

Once again the bias of those with an anti-religious view has confused the constitutional right to freedom "of religion" to be one of freedom "from religion."

John Rogers,

Brattleboro, March 27

Support a
state bank

Editor of the Reformer:

Taxes. Who wouldn’t like to see less? But they’re necessary to provide public goods and services for businesses and individuals, at least in the way our economy is currently constructed. Wouldn’t it be nice if the state of Vermont could do more with the same tax rates? For instance, pave Western Avenue sooner? How about on the local government level, if it’s decided by the town to make a capital improvement, such as in the police/fire facilities, wouldn’t it be better if financing cost lest so that there would be less of a tax increase? Wouldn’t it also be nice if financing could be completed quicker? As an example, the Brooks House renovation project that languished so long for want of adequate financing. And Brattleboro businesses wouldn’t do better with a lower unemployment rate to say nothing of the benefits that would have for the now unemployed and underemployed?

All of the above leads to the subject of having a Vermont State Bank, which is under consideration in the Legislature with Sen. Jeanette White being one of four co-sponsors. The example is already out there -- North Dakota had the only state bank and consequently was the only state out of 50 that came out of the financial crisis of 2008 unscathed, having low unemployment and foreclosure rates.

Another thing to consider: Presently, state financing with TD Bank helps support the CEO’s salary, which was $18,000 a day. Do you like your tax dollars going to support a bloated salary like that?

A state bank can partner with local banks and enable them to make more much needed loans by providing backup funding. The intent is not to create a bank that competes for loans or deposits with banks already established in the state. Of course, how well a state bank serves residents and the state depends on the finalized legislation. The devil is in the details. There is already considerable interest in Brattleboro in a state bank. Much more education, transparency and democracy is needed on this issue. Anyone who is interested in learning about the history and benefits of public banking should read "The Public Bank Solution," by Ellen Brown.

Bill Dion,

March 27, Brattleboro


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