Commentary Series

Weekdays 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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The Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV for short ) is a high school enrichment program that hosts residential workshops on VT college campuses in a variety of disciplines. Students can choose to attend institutes in the Arts, Engineering, Information Technology, Environmental Science and Technology, Mathematics, Asian Cultures, Current Issues and Youth Activism, and Entrepreneurship.

For 32 years, thousands of students have had the chance to study subjects and experience problem solving in ways that go far beyond what most high school curriculums can offer.

Not long ago, I received a private message on Facebook from a woman who’d once been my best friend, but with whom I hadn’t spoken in thirty years.

In her Oscar acceptance speech, Patricia Arquette declared, "It's (women's) time to have wage equality once and for all." While her statement drew applause, Arquette faced criticism when, backstage, she added, "it's time for (other groups, including) all the gay people, and all the people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now." By highlighting the gender wage gap and suggesting that women have earned the support of "gay people… and… people of color," Arquette stirred controversies that have long animated U.S. women's history.

Turn to the opinion pages and start counting. How many commentaries are written by men? How many by women? Surely in 2015 there’s equal play, right?


Brown: The First Woman

Mar 25, 2015

Women’s History Month gives us a lot of opportunity to reflect on notable “firsts.”

March is the month Americans recognize as Women’s History Month. But in this age of leaders like Hillary Clinton, some people wonder if we still need women’s history.

Sally wakes up at 7 am crying. She has a 102 fever and a sore throat. Her Mom is supposed to be at work at 8:30. There is no earned sick day policy in Mom’s workplace. If she misses a day of work, she misses a day’s pay and may not be able to pay that month’s fuel bill.

Blackwell: Researching Women's History

Mar 23, 2015

Images of radical Islamists destroying ancient artifacts in Iraq should remind us that history is dependent upon recorded memory. When historian Gerda Lerner established the first graduate degree program in women’s history in 1972, she compiled Black Women in White America, a collection of documents proving that evidence existed to put all women - even minority women - back into the national story. Do we still need that kind of recovery work? Just ask historian Rachel Hope Cleves.

On Town Meeting Day a year ago, Burlingtonians approved by a 2 to 1 margin, proposed changes to our City Charter that would (within the city limits) ban guns from bars, provide for the safe storage of firearms, and enable police to temporarily remove firearms from scenes of domestic violence.

Come late winter in the Fifties, Woodstock people needed diversion from the cold gray days. Thus came about the Woodstock High School talent show and, as a lad, my mother always took me to the high school gym to see it. She had a fine singing voice, knew good music, and squirmed as those who, year after year, sang their solos way off key. But nobody had the heart to tell them…