Lt. Gov. Zuckerman and members of the Legislature recently met with Rutland-area citizens to discuss the state of Vermont. I read with interest the discussion on education. Of course, the real problems with education were once again not mentioned.

Schools should be teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, said a member of the audience. He is right of course; our Democratic Republic depends upon an educated electorate, and when that falls by the wayside we end up with a tired ole man who thinks he was elected king.

We do have a welfare state; unfortunately, it’s a corporate welfare state and they have all the power and push all the buttons. Americans are led to believe it’s the social welfare that drags us down. That’s due to a lack of reading and educating oneself that this belief comes about.

Children cannot be taught to read and write when the climate of the school is toxic and chaotic. They also cannot be taught when they live on their cellphones and discipline is infrequent for even the most outlandish of behaviors.

If you are a frequent reader of this editorial page, you have heard me lament this many times. You may even be tired of it. I certainly would understand this, as I am tired of writing about it. However, if I don’t, who then speaks for the students who want to learn in an environment where they are not distracted by chaos, tension, profanity, rudeness and vulgarity.

Perhaps people would understand if I told them that teaching or being a student in today’s public school is like growing up in a home where the children walk on eggshells waiting for the shoe to drop and the fighting and chaos to begin.

That is today’s public school for many students. It’s wrong and the adults are responsible because they allow it to be taking place, refusing to acknowledge it.

Robin Chesnut-Tangerman feels that schools are trying to make sure students succeed regardless of race, class, learning disabilities or emotional issues. I believe if he were honest, he would tell you that schools are failing at this today and in fact are failing horribly.

Schools cannot make all students succeed and handing them a diploma at the end of four years is not proof that it can, but rather a sham. As a result, students whose parents have done the hard work preparing them for school and a good education have been deprived of their rights and their child’s right to a real education.

It’s time for an open discussion on what the atmosphere is really like in Vermont schools and how we as Vermont citizens and leaders make the necessary changes. Vermont’s young students are waiting on you.

Charles Laramie is a Fair Haven resident.

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