MONTPELIER – Beginning in 2019, students in Vermont’s public schools will have the entire month of December off. Parents are livid; teachers are celebrating; students don’t know quite what to make of it. And the politicians are nowhere to be found.
“How did this ever happen,” wondered Susan Crafton of Sheldon, VT. “Was this discussed in the legislature? Were there public hearings?”
Crafton, a working mom, wonders what she will do with her 8 and 11 year old children next December. “My partner travels for work,” she explained, “and I can’t afford to take the entire month off. This is America … we aren’t Sweden!!”
Teachers have a different take on the issue. “Colleges close for a month during the holiday season,” said Bruce Frender, a seventh grade teacher in Rutland Town. “I think it only makes sense to give a similar break to all of Vermont’s students and teachers.”
The question remains – and this is the major point of contention – Who or what was the force and funding behind this move? Governor Phil Scott deferred comment to the Department of Education. Vermont’s Secretary of Education, Rebecca Holcombe, was unavailable for comment. Her office says she is traveling until mid-January. Vermont School Board Association president Geo Honigford referred The Winooski to the Governor’s office.
“That’s the problem,” said Careen McFugal of Shelburne. “No one seems to be responsible!” There is suspicion that the Trump administration has a hand in this. “The motto for the whole thing is ‘Make Vacations Great Again!’ That tells you something,” said McFugal, a Democrat. “I don’t know what,” she said, “but it tells you SOMETHING!”