Town Meeting Day Recess

Did you know that one of my colleagues wants to end Day Light Savings Time?

Or make it permanent. . . I’m not sure what the difference is. Here's an article about the proposed bill and here's a song.

We’re home this week for Town Meeting Recess, marking the halfway point of the session. Since Brattleboro’s Town Meeting isn’t for another few weeks (classic move Brattleboro) I cast my ballot on Tuesday and spent the rest of the week at my day job (Director of Workforce Development at Youth Services). Our local elections were dynamic this year with many wonderful choices for both Select Board and School Board. I’m proud of how many folks stepped up and excited about the incredible leadership we have investing in our community’s future.

The work isn't done though! Please think about being a town meeting representative— District 1 still need 12 more people for the District 1 Caucus. It should be an interesting year with debate on 1% local option tax, clean energy funding, and our school board in flux (click here for the full warning).The commitment is relatively straightforward: a full day at Town Meeting on March 24th and I’ll even share my chocolate with you. If you’re interested, please attend the informational caucus on Wednesday evening.

It was lovely to settle back in to the rhythm of town, running into folks over coffee and reflecting on the work ahead. We will be returning to the final week before cross-over: just past the halfway point in the session, all bills in the House need to move to the Senate and all bills in the Senate need to move to the House. Things are speeding up and committees are deep into omnibus committee bills.

In Commerce and Economic Development we continue to look at ways to structure employment/workforce training. While Vermont has one of the highest rates of high-school completion we have one of the lowest rates of folks continuing on to further education. Historically much of the funding for “upskilling” workers has gone directly into the hands of businesses as subsidies. In committee I’m advocating for workforce training that invests directly in accountable state systems, such as our high schools, community colleges, and individual Vermonters.

I'm hoping to make space for an essential question: what is the role of education or training in the “production” of workers and citizens? As student loan debt has bloomed and wages have stagnated, many families wonder about the return-on-investment for education. As someone who will likely still be paying off my own student loan debt when my child goes to college, I can relate. Many of us can’t afford to spend time and money on something with no hope of a concrete return. Most of us need to make a living wage tomorrow, not five years from now. We're seeing an increased interest in direct training programs at the high school and secondary level, and it makes sense given the factors at play.

I worry though, at where this line of thinking brings us. I would love for us to live in a world where all work is honored and compensated. But I worry that what we’re seeing is not a resurgence in respect for craft and/or the working class but a concentration of the wealth and cultural divides. We’ve seen many small colleges close over the last year. We have a decline in civic participation. What is education for? What can we expect of employers? Of schools? What is training for?

I appreciated the very different perspective these two articles took on the topic: From the New York Times: Alternative Colleges, and Their ‘Radical, Communal Ideas,’ Fight for a Future And from Vice: The Hot New Gen-Z Trend is Skipping College. Let me know your thoughts?

Is something is keeping you up at night? I can either answer it as my weekly bonus question with Olga Peters, or just write back directly. The choice is yours!

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