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Letters to the Editor


Teach Your Children

Educator-author Tony Wagner, quoted last week in [“The Schools of Tomorrow,” August 29], says, “The world no longer cares about how much our kids know. What the world cares about is what they can do with what they know.”

Bravo to Wagner for channeling the words of Booker T. Washington, who said a century ago: “The world cares very little about what a man knows; it is what a man is able to do that counts.”

Wagner also stated, “Our system of education is obsolete and needs reinventing.”

Here’s a thought: How about looking into the tried, true methods of Washington first? After all, the best new ideas oftentimes come out of past successes.

Yet many education experts are simply unaware of Washington’s methods — methods Washington himself credits learning under the tutelage of Gen. Samuel Armstrong, founder of Hampton University.

Perhaps this is so because many scholars and schools of education remain firmly wedded to the obsolete theories of John Dewey, reputedly the father of “progressive education.”

John Dewey happens to be buried at UVM.

It would be fitting if Wagner, due to speak at UVM on September 27 at the Rowland Foundation’s second annual conference on school transformation, were to take the opportunity to bury Dewey’s theories alongside him.

Ronald Court

Essex Junction

Court is president and founder of the Booker T. Washington Society.

Hail to Hunt’s

How many letters will the article [“Zoning Out,” August 15] engender? A lot, I hope. I spent many of my most fun evenings at Hunt’s, listening to Zoot Wilson, Mark Spencer, Jimmy Ryan, Peter Riley, Tyrone Shaw — and Seven Days editor Pamela Polston, of course. Even saw quite a few national acts there.

The local music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s just seemed a lot more open and egalitarian back then — or maybe I’m just getting old? We used to drive to the now-defunct Brown Derby in Montpelier and a place in Fairlee on the shore of Lake Morey to bop to the Decentz.

I first set foot in Hunt’s before it was Hunt’s. In the mid-1970s I saw Jesse Winchester at the Opry [Hunt’s previous incarnation] in the first gig he played back in the U.S. after Jerry Ford granted him amnesty for avoiding the Vietnam War draft.  

Gary Burton, Leon Russell, Edgar Winter — they had some great acts play there, and I was lucky enough to see many of them.

Christopher Hill


Once and Future Club Space?

I’m just writing about the article highlighting the musical talent that used to reside in the now-abandoned building that sits on Main Street [“Zoning Out,” August 15]. I was just wondering if they ever plan on opening the building again? It could serve as so many things with its central location in the heart of Burlington. I know at one time it was Sh-Na-Na’s, as well. It would make an excellent, classy club, but it could also serve as many other things, as well.

Matthew Bevins


Freedom Reins

[Re “Homeschooling Parents Cry Foul Over New Rules From the Department of Ed,” August 22]: It seems they should start removing the “Freedom and Unity” motto from the Vermont flag and replace it with: “We Control Your Lives, Freedoms, Beliefs and Ideals.”

Paul Miller


“Ethnic” Category Offensive

I am writing in response to your Seven Daysies award for “Best Ethnic Restaurant (Non-Asian)” [“A Decade of Daysies,” August 15]. I note an absurd, inherent ethnocentrism in this awkward category; every restaurant serves food derived from an ethnic tradition of some sort. This category is based on an assumption that all cuisine not derived from a Western European culture belongs in the “other” category. This is shameful, but equally shameful is your choice of winner. The category uses parentheses to note that Asian-based cuisines will not be included, yet the winner is Farah’s, which serves Persian food. On what continent do you assume Persian food originated? Almost every restaurant you chose for an award would fit into the “Best Ethnic Food (Non-Asian)” category. Farah’s, however, falls under the immense swath of this world’s largest continent. Perhaps you meant non-Southeast Asian? How very ignorant.

Weston Nicoll

South Burlington

(Editor’s note: First, Seven Days staff does not pick the Daysies winners; readers do. We did, however, add the admittedly awkward best-ethnic-non-Asian category because we hoped to give the burgeoning crop of other world cuisines a chance. We will reconsider this wording next year.)

Bravo Bethel

I love this article [“When Irene Came,” August 22]! My family and I were also on higher ground and, like this author, found out at the last minute just how horrific the water really was and what an impact it was about to have on our family and friends. The house of my father-in-law was two over from the River Street Bridge, and the flood ruined it beyond repair. But it was better off than the one across the street that went down the river, and the one next to it, from which my daughters and I helped to move furniture and personal belongings. This story is very well written, and I could feel my heart in my throat again as I read it. Thank you for sharing it with us! [Tropical Storm] Irene took a lot from our village, but it gave us a stronger sense of community, as well, so for that I am thankful. We have an amazing number of strong and loving people here who stick together whenever it really counts!

Linda J. Fuglestad


Tipped Out

Our August 15 story “Are Burlington Restaurants Discriminating Against Québécois Customers?” continues to generate letters to the editor. That’s because the story went viral across the U.S. and Canada. News outlets from Yahoo to Toronto’s Globe and Mail picked it up. Last week, a researcher at the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” contacted Seven Days reporter Kathryn Flagg.

The consensus: Not everyone tips 20 percent — or feels it is warranted for anything less than extraordinary service. If a restaurant opts to add an automatic gratuity, it should be applied to all customers, not discriminatorily. And the American tradition of tipping — to supplement a less-than-minimum-wage job — seems justifiably odd to people from other countries. If restaurateurs expect them to understand and adopt it, they’d better explain it — in menus, on checks, maybe even face-to-face.