Commentary Series

Mon-Thurs 8:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Sundays at 10:55 a.m.

More than 50 commentators provide perspective and opinion about current events, topics of interest, and often showcase the work of writers and storytellers. The VPR Commentary Series is produced by Betty Smith-Mastaler.

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Charlotte Central School journalism club student Sylvie Miler / The Charlotte News

On October 28th, a little more than a week before our midterm elections, an American soldier in Afghanistan, Major Brent Taylor, posted his thoughts on Facebook about the coming election.

The billion dollar Edna McConnell Clark Foundation has announced that it will donate all its money and go out of business in 2026.

Richmond Middle School

The concept of Restorative Practices in school isn’t new. It’s grown out of the Restorative Justice work gaining momentum in the VT justice system.

Krupp: Real Organic

Nov 13, 2018
AP Photo/Lisa Rathke

In the Spring of 1969, I worked as an apprentice at Hill & Dale Farm on Putney Mountain, near Brattleboro. It was the beginning of the “Back to the Land Movement” and "hippie” influx. At Hill and Dale, we raised apples, vegetables and animals in a pasture-based system. It was one of first organic farms in Vermont.

Joe Klementovich

Sitting bundled up on the porch at hunting camp, I put pieces of cornbread on the arm of my chair, and wait. I know somebody's watching. Yep, in a couple of minutes a drab gray-and-black bird, almost like a magpie, appears suddenly, silently at the end of the porch.

AP Photo/File

With Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate digging in for political battles to come, you can sense there’s history happening.

Jennifer Rickards

When Dr. Robert Chaffee saw Walter Cabot Paine waving a long-handled butterfly net in a field of goldenrod beside a parking lot in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, he thought, “Now, there’s somebody I should meet,” and stopped to introduce himself.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

To go to someone’s funeral and speak solely in generalities about the sadness of death, without mention of the person who died or condolences to the family would be completely out of place. Yet that’s what often happens when we experience an act of violence motivated by hate.

Schubart: Open World

Nov 6, 2018
Bill Schubart

Thanks to the VT Council on World Affairs and the Open World Leadership Program, we just hosted two young women who are journalists in Yaroslava, Russia. And I’m struck by how similar the challenges they face are to our own.

Kunin: The Vigil

Nov 5, 2018
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

In only a few moments, the Tree of Life synagogue had become the synagogue of death by the hand of one gun wielding anti-semite. This was the most horrendous attack against American Jews in our history. And non-Jewish communities around the country, including Burlington, grieved with their Jewish neighbors and friends.

Peter Miller

I think of the confluence of entertainment and politics as dating back to the 1980s at least, with the election of former actor Ronald Reagan – setting the stage for today with a president who starred in the reality TV show, The Apprentice before playing that same role (tough businessman/great deal-maker) on the national stage.

Friends of the Wardsboro Library

As we approach Election Day, the rhetoric in most of America has become overheated. Civility has succumbed to hostility, and we’ve even seen people with extreme views resort to guns and bombs.

Lange: The Getaway

Nov 1, 2018
Willem Lange

This time of year, when the leaves have mostly gone from the maples, reminds me of the first paragraph of Moby Dick.

Adrian: Tending The Tree

Oct 31, 2018
Ed Adrian

Today is Halloween, and also the first day of the “Dia de Muertos” or “Day of the Dead Festival,” a Mexican holiday with Catholic and Aztec roots that’s gaining popularity here as the result of the increasing numbers of Hispanic friends and neighbors, and the release of Disney’s film Coco last year.

Keith Oppenheim

When it comes to this year’s Vermont Governor’s race, I’m among those voters who still can’t decide between the two major party candidates.

AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

For days the news has been full of footage in which long columns of migrants, thousands of displaced people, surge forward, looking for asylum, seeking safety.

Stephanie Greene

I’ve been talking to some people who didn’t vote in the 2016 election. One young man summed up his disinterest by saying he didn’t feel the two party system represented him. Neither candidate thrilled him, so he boycotted the election.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

A friend who lives in another part of the country told me that shortly after the last election she overheard a group of teenage girls at a swimming pool, and one was saying, “At least now we can get rid of the Jews.”

Vogel: Homeless Children

Oct 29, 2018
Photo courtesy of the Upper Valley Haven

The face of homelessness has changed, but our government policies have not. Today, about a quarter of the homeless in Vermont and across the country are children. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the number of children living on the streets or in temporary housing in New York City, and trying to go to school, has ballooned to 114 thousand.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Like any profession, education has its rock stars: Piaget, Montessori, Vygotsky ... and John Dewey, who was born and raised in Burlington, Vermont. Dewey’s dad was a green grocer and wanted his son to become a mechanic, but instead, young Dewey went to UVM, worked as a teacher, and eventually became one of the greatest social philosophers of the modern age.